On 15th November 2007, mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend Vanessa Kyte passed away at her home in Rudge near Frome, seven years after first being diagnosed with breast cancer, which soon developed into secondary lung cancer and brain tumours. Now, five years on, Vanessa’s family and friends are still continuing with her passion and drive for fundraising, by doing everything they can to help The Forever Friends Appeal charity raise funds to build a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the Royal United Hospital in Bath.
Following her diagnosis with cancer in 2000, Vanessa was extremely passionate about fundraising for charities that helped support people in similar situations to herself. Over the years she raised more than £100,000 for local and national charities – by taking part in Wing Walks, organizing balls and in 2003 she ran the Bath Half Marathon. Vanessa’s sister, Nicola Noble comments: “After Ness had both her breasts removed, she started running and realised nothing could get in her way! Raising money for a charity she believed in is what she was about. She would think it was wonderful that Ted’s Team in the 2013 Bath Half Marathon will be running to raise funds to help build a wonderful new Cancer Centre for the RUH.”
Due to her passion and commitment to fundraising for Cancer Care, Vanessa was thrilled to be invited to be a Vice President of The Forever Friends Appeal charity. Back in 2005, Vanessa and her sister Nic, sparked the idea of holding a fundraising walk all around the catchment area of the hospital. This 80 mile week long walk, organized by The Forever Friends Appeal charity, took place in both 2006 and 2007 and significantly raised the profile of the charity across B&NES, Somerset and Wiltshire. Following Vanessa’s death in November 2007, the walk developed into the 21 mile Walk of Life along the spectacular Kennet and Avon Canal, with the walk being named in her memory. All funds raised from this annual event go towards state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities to help care for cancer patients at the RUH. Now, getting ready for its 6th annual event in May 2013, the Walk of Life sees hundreds of mums, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons take part in the event to remember and celebrate the lives of their loved ones.
Vanessa and Nicola’s mother, Dianne Young, comments: “I am overwhelmed that the Canal Walk has proved so popular and successful since Nicola and Vanessa first approached Forever Friends with their original idea seven years ago. From a handful of friends and family it has grown into a fantastic walk of over 200 people who are there because someone they know and love has been touched by cancer. It’s amazing, and all the more poignant as Ness died just two years after its inception, but her enthusiasm and commitment for raising funds for cancer treatment at the RUH has been carried on by Nic. I couldn’t be more proud of them both and Vanessa would be over the moon to know how this acorn of an idea is growing into a beautiful oak.”
May 2012 saw the most successful Walk of Life to date, with over 210 supporters taking on either the full 21 mile walk from Devizes toBath, the 12 mile morning stint from Devizes to Bradford-On-Avon or the 9 mile afternoon section from Bradford-On-Avon to Bath. On the five-year anniversary of Vanessa’s death, The Forever Friends Appeal charity would like to announce that an impressive £32,000 has been raised from the 2012 Walk of Life, which will go towards the RUH Cancer Care Campaign to help build a new Cancer Centre at the RUH.
The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign aims to raise over £5million over the next 4 years towards the cost of building a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the RUH in Bath. This wonderful new Centre will transform care for patients and their families, bringing cancer services at the RUH all under one roof. The new building will create a Cancer Centre which balances clinical expertise with the provision of a nurturing and therapeutic environment – that is centered on patient care and experience, reducing stress and anxiety, whilst promoting health and thereby embracing a ‘holistic’ approach for patients and their families.
Head of Fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal, Tim Hobbs, comments: “Vanessa, along with Nic and the rest of her family, always wanted us to be focused on Cancer Care as our primary Campaign and I believe she would very much approve of our vision for the new RUH Cancer Centre and the way our fundraising activity is developing to help achieve it”.
Mr Hobbs continues: “The Walk of Life, set up in Vanessa’s memory, is growing year by year and we are so looking forward to seeing it become even bigger in 2013. There are always a large number of Vanessa’s friends and family members who lead the walk, but each year they are being joined by more and more people who want to take part to celebrate the lives of their loved ones.”
The Forever Friends Appeal also have Silver Bond places available in the 2013 Bath Half Marathon on Sunday 3rd March. To sign up with one of these places, please click here or call 01225 825823. For more information on the RUH Cancer Care Campaign and how to join the Walk of Life event in May next year, please browse our site.