FundraisingIn 2013 the Laurie Engel Fund - having achieved its original objective of building a teenage cancer unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital - switched to supporting the hospital's own appeal: raising £4 million towards the cost of an entirely new cancer department. This target has now been reached, and work has started on clearing the site. The new four-storey building, including operating theatres and outpatients' clinics, will cost around £9 million altogether: so a great deal more money needs to be raised.
Mark’s bike rideMark Williams, a school friend of Laurie’s, is planning an ambitious bike ride for the fund. Inspired by Matthew’s book, Engel’s England, Mark intends to tour all of the old English counties, covering a distance of around 3,000 miles. He plans to set out from his family home in Herefordshire in early June 2016, and expects the journey to take about five weeks. Mark has already done some impressive fund-raising for us: in 2011 he and his friend Harry Saville cycled from northern France to southern Spain, raising more than £3500 (he’s planning to use the same bike for the ride around England); and in 2012 he took part in the Great South Run.
Uncle Richard's birthdayLaurie's Uncle Richard had a significant birthday in November, and at his request many of his friends and colleagues have made generous donations to Laurie's fund.
George's Tough MudderGeorge Wood-Cole (on the left in the photo), a school friend of Laurie's, took part in a Tough Mudder challenge in May. George is a keen sportsman, and plays for his local cricket and football teams in Herefordshire. He was in training for the Tough Mudder for several months; and although struggling with knee trouble at the time, he completed the challenge in three hours, raising far more money than he'd expected - over £700.
Great Uncle Mervyn's birthdayIn May Laurie's great uncle, Mervyn Lesser, celebrated his 90th birthday, and many of his guests generously marked the occasion with donations to Laurie's fund.
Jeanne and Rachel's weddingOn Easter Sunday 2015 Laurie's cousin Rachel Engel married Jeanne Dippenaar in London; and they very kindly asked their guests to make donations to Laurie's fund.
Recent Events:In autumn 2014 we held an open weekend in our restored cider mill, worked by a horse for the first time in a hundred years. Pye the stallion did most of the hard work, helped by his owners Wendy and John Lloyd, their grandson Will, and Vika. Two hundred and fifty litres of cider were made (ready for fundraising next year), and £125 was taken in donations.
Vika's RideIn 2013 Laurie’s sister Vika successfully completed her epic birthday ride across Wales "from the Bay to Hay", raising £25,000 for the fund. The story is here...
- Vika's uncle, Tony Engel, asked for donations to the Fund on his 70th birthday and raised £1500.
- Our friend Steve Barnett asked for donations to the Fund on his 60th birthday.
- Golf writer Patricia Davies made it her charity for her year as Ladies’ Captain of Whittington Heath Golf Club, raising £6,800.
- Jane Keating asked for donations in memory of her husband, the brilliant sports writer Frank Keating, who died in January 2013.
- Matthew's aunt and uncle, Ruth and Mervyn Lesser, asked for donations instead of gifts to celebrate their Diamond Wedding.
He lived on a farm in Herefordshire with his parents, Matthew and Hilary, and younger sister Vika.
Laurie wanted to win Wimbledon or, failing that, be a sports writer like his dad. Almost anything seemed possible – except what did happen. He was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. Despite 17 months of intensive treatment, he died in September 2005, aged 13.
Laurie’s friends often speak of his kindness. He said he wanted to make a difference. His family set up the Laurie Engel Fund to make sure that he would.
The Laurie Engel Fund
Laurie was treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the childhood cancer centre for much of England. The Engel family found the medical care there world-class, but the facilities and surroundings dismal.
The Engel family set up the Laurie Engel Fund to try to ensure future patients have better conditions than Laurie did. Working initially with Teenage Cancer Trust, the fund raised £1.1m – and as a result a new £2.5m teenage unit opened in 2010. It has been a huge success, delighting patients, parents and staff and setting new standards at the hospital.
The snag was that the unit created a big discrepancy between the facilities available to teenagers and to younger children, who are still being housed in the old, low-grade wards. Recognising the problem, Birmingham Children’s Hospital has launched a £4m appeal to bring all their cancer facilities into a similar class.
In January 2013 the Engels decided to redirect Laurie’s fund to support this important cause – to try to give all the younger cancer patients the amenities they deserve; and to give them the best possible chance of recovery.
Please support us, Laurie, and all the children who will have to endure treatment for cancer in the future.