Cancer fundraiser honoured as charity ‘Hospital Hero’

28-year-old Lucy Guiry and her friend Kerry Yeo have been named one of the charities first ‘Hospital Heroes’ after pledging to take on as many fundraising challenges as possible in 2020 to raise funds for Leeds Cares.

This week, we have launched our new fundraising initiative, Leeds Cares Hospital Heroes encouraging supporters to carry out long-term fundraising to support their local NHS hospitals.

In January 2013, Lucy was diagnosed with malignant melanoma after a mole on her thigh began to grow and change in appearance. Lucy was transferred to St James’s Hospital in Leeds, where she was told the mole was cancerous and had begun to spread to her lymph nodes. Thankfully, Lucy was able to have an operation to remove the cancer and did not need any further treatment.

Unfortunately, that was just the start of Lucy’s journey after her cancer continued to return in the same place over the next six years.

Whilst still undergoing her immunotherapy treatment, in January 2018 Lucy discovered that she was pregnant but was worried that it might not be safe for her to have the baby.

Lucy says, “I was so relieved when the doctors told me that everything was ok, and I could go ahead with the pregnancy. We were so blessed to welcome Eadie, our ‘miracle’, into our lives in August 2018”

Following this, Lucy had two more significant recurrences of melanoma and in October 2019 doctors warned her that it may be difficult to operate again if her cancer reoccurred.

Devastatingly, in April 2020 Lucy discovered she had a lump on her shoulder and scans revealed that her cancer had returned not only to her leg but also to her shoulder, liver, pancreas, and pelvic lymph nodes.

Lucy said, “When the cancer came back in the same place it never felt like a major setback, we remained positive. When I discovered it had spread this year and was stage four, it felt out of my control. It’s even scarier because I have Eadie now, she’s only two so she doesn’t understand that mummy is poorly”.

Throughout this year, Lucy and Kerry have done whatever they can to fundraise, including virtual bingo, an eight-hour tennis marathon, ‘Pantry in the Porch’, an Ullswater Cross lake swim and the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge!

One of Lucy’s close friends, Debbie, also ran over 237 miles over 40 days to add vital donations to the fund.

Thanks to their dedication to fundraising, despite the coronavirus outbreak, Lucy and Kerry have so far raised more than £10,000 to support NHS staff, patients, and families at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Lucy says that fundraising has given her and her friends and family, something positive to focus on, “Fundraising is a really positive coping strategy for me, Kerry and I have put all our energy into it, driven by the knowledge that the money we raise will benefit patients like me.”

Paul Watkins, Leeds Cares Director of Fundraising, said:

“We’re really excited to be launching our new fundraising initiative ‘Hospital Heroes’, these supporters will make a real difference to staff, patients, and families at our local NHS hospitals. Everyone at Leeds Cares is so grateful to Hospital Heroes like Lucy who have made a pledge to raise £1,000 or more for Leeds Cares.”