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Braving the elements in memory of Ryan

14 February 2012

Fundraising

Nearly 100 walkers disregarded the winter chill for a bracing walk down Southend pier in memory of charismatic leukaemia patient Ryan Tolley.

Ryan sadly died inSouthendUniversityHospitalat the end of last year, but staff  were determined to take on the challenge he had wanted so badly to do himself - walk the length of the famous pier.

Although it did not start off as a fundraising venture, the event still raised £400 which will be used to start up a trust fund in Ryan's name.

Claire Howard, one of the secretary's on Elizabeth Loury ward where he was cared for, said: "Ryan simply asked if we could do the walk for him if he wasn't able to and so we did. We were all touched by him and wanted to do it in his memory. The walk just got bigger and bigger with more people wanting to join us."

Ryan, of Great Wakering, was a promising drama and singing student when he was first diagnosed with the disease in 2009.

His mum, Mandy Short, said: "He fought so hard for those two years. All the way through he stayed laughing and caring about everyone else rather than himself. He was far more concerned about the family and how they would cope when he was no longer around.

"We used to spend a lot of time at the beach as a family and he always wanted to walk the pier, but it just didn't happen. Even when he became paralysed he still hoped he would be able to do it and told one of the nursing staff on the ward.

"They were all absolute angels and looked after him so well. I am so very grateful to them.

"He was there for about seven weeks and his hospital room was like Santa's grotto with pictures, photographs and cuddly toys.

"I cannot thank the staff enough for making him so comfortable."