Fundraisers join charity boot camp in memory of brain tumour mum
PUBLISHED: 15:18 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 19:16 21 January 2019
More than 100 people took part in a gruelling charity boot camp in memory of a much-loved Colchester mum-of-two who passed away just before Christmas.
Gemma, who died on December 19 aged 33, was in the hearts and minds of the 102 participants of a boot camp put through their paces on Saturday 19 January in the grounds of Friar’s Grove Primary School – the school that both of Gemma’s sons attend.
The fundraiser for the Brain Tumour Research charity has raised more than £2,000 to-date, with further donations still coming in.The idea for the boot camp came from Gemma’s friend Kirstie Enefer, 43, of St John’s, Colchester, as Gemma was being cared for in St Helena’s hospice.
Kirstie first got to know Gemma when her son Jamie started in the same reception class as Gemma’s son Dylan.
Kirstie, a marketing assistant at Essex Business School at the University of Essex, said she wanted to give “a huge vote of thanks” to everybody who had helped and taken part.
“I had to do something – it’s so shocking that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. We cannot allow this to continue.
“I had such an incredible response when I put out the idea of a boot camp inspired by Gemma.
“Huge thanks have to go to all of the instructors who donated their time and energy - Chris Allan, Liam Clayton, Kelly Goody and Elliot Chapman. They were fabulous and literally leapt at the chance to get involved in return for cake and bananas!
“Thanks to my fabulous friend Karen Cameron who works at Friar’s Grove for all her amazing help in organising the boot camp. I couldn’t have done it without Karen and the instructors.
“Grateful thanks also to all our lovely volunteers and all the kind folk who made loads of amazing cakes and to Tesco Highwoods who donated bananas for all the boot campers to give them an extra bit of energy.
“We raised over £400 just in generous donations for cakes and teas and coffees, with one person paying an awesome £20 for two cupcakes!
“I’m very proud of everybody who helped to make the event so successful and to all who came along. I’m sure Gemma would be too.”
Gemma’s mum Barb said: “The sense of loss felt by the whole family is beyond words. We take some comfort that our beautiful daughter was blessed in having so many wonderful friends and supporters who will keep her memory alive.”
Dad Andy said: “We are very grateful to Kirstie and everyone who supported or attended the boot camp. Gemma would have been very proud.”
Paula Rastrick, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in the Central region, said: “For too long brain tumours have been a neglected cancer.
“We are so grateful to Kirstie for organising the boot camp inspired by Gemma and to all who got involved to raise such an amazing sum.”
The Running Colchester sport club also held a charity quiz which raised more than £1,100 in memory of Gemma at St John’s Community Centre on January 19, to be split between Running Colchester, Brain Tumour Research and St Helena’s Hospice.
Money raised for Brain Tumour Research helps fund dedicated UK Research Centres of Excellence where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.
Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours and the charity is lobbying the government and the larger cancer charities to increase this.
It’s not too late to add your donation. To donate go to the Brain Tumour Research website.