A CANCER charity set up by a dying Sheffield man in his final few months of life looks set to smash its £20,000 fundraising target in just two years.
Mark Haydn Taylor, aged 48, took just seven months to reach an initial £10,000 target he set for himself, by organising a dinner dance, barbecue and skydive and buying and selling items on eBay.
After Mark lost his battle with pancreatic cancer last November, family and friends vowed to continue his mission and, by next Februrary, double the money the Mark Haydn Taylor Cancer Research Fund had already raised.
Today his widow Kathie, 47, said she wants the first anniversary of Mark’s death next month to be a celebration of his determination to help others - and revealed the total raised in his memory stands at £17,000 so far.
All the money raised goes to Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, where Mark was treated and supported as he came to terms with his terminal condition.
Mum-of-two Kathie, from Handsworth, who was married to Mark for 22 years, said she hopes his charity continues to thrive as a lasting legacy.
“He wanted something positive to come from his death and really wanted to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer,” she said.
“It is something people can have for a long time without realising, and it can be difficult to diagnose, so he wanted more people to be aware of it and to look out for the signs.”
Mark first started feeling ill almost two years to the day he died, complaining of abdominal pains and putting on over five stone in weight.
After months of tests he was finally diagnosed in August 2009 - the day after he turned 47.
Despite knowing he was dying Kathie said he put others before himself.
“Mark wanted to do all he could to raise money for research into cancer and wanted the money to help local people, so he chose Weston Park. He just wanted something good to come from what he was going through,” she said.
“After learning the cancer was terminal Mark did have a couple of really bad weeks, but setting up the charity gave him a focus and something positive to concentrate on and he devoted himself to it - he was constantly on the computer and ringing people despite what he was going through.
“The minute he decided to set up the charity his life changed and even in his last few weeks he was actively promoting it.
“I am very, very proud of Mark and everything he achieved, and that’s why it is important that his charity continues.
“It would be the perfect tribute to him if we could double the target he initially set and raise £20,000 in the charity’s first year.”
n To donate call Kathie on 07990 538 914.