A FAMILY will come together at a five-a-side-football fundraiser next month to celebrate the life of their daughter who would have turned 30 this year.
Leeann Smith died aged just 16 after collapsing at her home in the Gleadless Valley.
It was only when pathologists carried out a post-mortem examination they discovered the popular schoolgirl had been suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia.
A pain in her leg in the days leading up to her death had been the only clue something might be wrong - but a trip to the doctors came to the conclusion she was simply suffering from a virus.
She died 13 years ago today just a few weeks before she was due to pick up her GCSE results from Newfield School. Leeann passed all 10 of her exams and had been looking forward to joining Norton College where she planned to study a course in travel and tourism.
Her close-knit family - which includes dad Davie, mum Kim and younger brother Craig - organise something in her memory each anniversary and also around the time of her birthday, on September 11.
“We go to a church and light some candles,” Davie said. “Or one year when we were on holiday in Greece we took a boat out and scattered some flowers in the sea. It was her brother who suggested that this year we should do a bit more because she would have turned 30, and that’s where the idea for the football tournament came from.”
The event will take place the day before her birthday at the Powerleague ground in Woodburn Road, Attercliffe. They hope to have around 30 teams taking part with all money going to the Lymphoma and Leukaemia Research charity.
Davie, aged 54, said it would be an emotional day, but they were pleased to be doing something positive in her memory.
“We will never come to terms with what happened,” Davie said. “But we can remember her for what she was - the life and soul of the party, always singing and dancing, a bright and popular girl.”
n Any local firms who would like to sponsor the event or donate a prize for the raffle can email Craig at email@example.com or call Davie on 07989 784019.