MELISSA Fitzpatrick has raised more than £3,000 for The Christie after completing a marathon 21-mile sponsored swim.
The 22-year-old from Gee Cross undertook the swim, the equivalent of covering the English Channel, over a 28-day period at Tameside Wellness Centre, Denton.
It was in appreciation for The Christie who had treated Melissa, her mother Joanne and cousin who have all battled cancer.
And Melissa has earmarked her money for a big research project into secondary cancer which begins in January.
“My mum has the same cancer which killed Sarah Harding (from the band Girls Aloud) and I want the money to go into research,” explained Melissa who completed a masters’ degree in policy at Kings College, London, earlier this year.
Melissa, who has just landed her first job ironically working on a research project at The Christie, said: “The Christie is a much-loved trust in Manchester for many reasons, and it is especially important to me because of how it has been there for me and my family throughout my lifetime.
“While the trust has helped both me and my mum beat cancer in the past, unfortunately in September 2020 my mum’s cancer returned after seven years in remission.
“In addition to this, my cousin Darcy is currently being treated at The Christie due to her cancer returning after 20 years in remission.
“The past year has been tough, but one thing that has shone through is my mum’s strength and determination despite her diagnosis, something that has motivated me to undertake this task.”
Melissa swam for 28 days in October, having just one day away from the pool.
She said: “I had finished university and it was before I began my first job, so I went each lunchtime and did an average of 50 lengths, sometimes more.
“Once I got into the pool it was alright, though it did get monotonous doing it day after day.”
Melissa, who had cancer of the kidney and lungs as a child, chose swimming as she lacks stamina to do running events.
“Due to the effect of childhood chemotherapy and radiotherapy on my lungs, I cannot run to save my life, so this was a challenge which was achievable,” she explained.
She is delighted with her efforts as her initial target was to raise £500.
Once it was shared by Werneth Low Golf Club, where her father Declan is a member and director, the total exceeded all expectations.
And Bradie Warburton, sister of Darcy who also lives in Gee Cross, raised more than £4,000 for The Christie by taking part in the 10K Run For Life at Tatton Park.
Bradie, 25, of Gee Cross, had also set a target of £500, was amazed by the response which included a £1,000 donation from her employers Mazars LLP for whom she is an auditor.
Darcy, 24, wants the money raised by Bradie to be used to provide entertainments for young people at The Christie.
Bradie said: “Darcy spent the whole of July in The Christie and boredom was a massive issue.
“There were three PlayStations on the ward which had about 18 beds and they were allocated on a rota basis.
“Darcy wants the money I raised to be spend on entertainments for especially those on the teenage wards.”
• To donate to Melissa, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/melissa-fitzpatrick2