Knights in shining armour for Gemma and Noah
Gemma Edgar was just 29 years old when she diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour. A year later she found out that her 18-month-old son Noah had eye cancer. Her big brother Lee Relf explains why this incredibly brave and strong family have inspired him to devote 2016 to fundraising…
This summer, at a castle near you, you may find yourself coming face to face with 11 medieval knights.
No, you haven’t found yourself in an episode of Game of Thrones (thank goodness). Chances are, it will be Lee Relf and some of his closest mates, who are cycling 130 miles, visiting four castles in Suffolk, to raise as much awareness and funding as possible for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.
If you do see Lee and his pals, please give them a wave and a cheer of encouragement, because they deserve it. This is why.
In October 2014, Lee’s sister Gemma, a paediatric nurse, was taken ill suddenly and without warning when her youngest son Noah was just eight weeks old. She woke up with a terrible headache and within hours she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. She needed major surgery to remove the majority of the tumour, followed by radiotherapy.
Unfortunately it was confirmed that the tumour is incurable.
Lee says: “With this knowledge she still battles on, enjoying life and being a wonderful mum to her boys as well as trying to do as much as possible to help Brain Tumour Research in the hope that they can one day find a cure.”
If this wasn’t enough for the family to have to cope with, in January this year they received some further devastating news.
Gemma and her husband Rob’s youngest son Noah became ill just before Christmas. His right eye was red and swollen and doctors initially thought it was just an infection but, after a number of visits to hospital, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. Around one child is diagnosed with this disease in the UK each week.
Unfortunately Noah had to have his eye removed to remove the tumour and stop the cancer spreading.
Lee says: “Like his mum, Noah is being amazingly strong and resilient and is adapting well to life with one eye.”
Noah is undergoing six sessions of chemotherapy and has also travelled to America to have proton beam therapy treatment. He is responding well to treatment but will need further chemo when he returns.
The Edgars’ story has hit the headlines in both the UK and, more recently, the US media.
With the help of friends and relatives, the family are trying to raise awareness and funding for both Brain Tumour Research and CHECT by carrying out a number of fundraising events throughout the year.
Lee says: “Both charities are very important to the family and we wish to raise as much awareness and funding for them as possible to help my sister and nephew, and hope that one day the outcome for other people suffering the same conditions will be more positive.”
The Knight Rider Challenge is taking place on July 30 2016 and the team will visit Framlingham, Eye, Bungay and Orford Castles.
You can sponsor Lee and the rest of the knights on their JustGiving page