Taking to the skies in honour of loved one

Two friends are taking on one of the most daunting challenges in order to raise money for Sheffield Hospitals Charity in honour of loved ones affected by cancer.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 8:17 am
TWO local residents are taking on one of the most daunting challenges in order to raise money for Sheffield Hospitals Charity in honour of loved ones affected by cancer.

Gemma Callaghan, 36 and Dillan Stephenson, 21, have both suffered heart breaking losses.

Gemma’s Mum, Sharon, and Dillan’s Mum, Joanne – who worked for many years in the cardiology department at the Northern General Hospital, both lost their battles with cancer and the pair say that their mums are sorely missed every day.

Unfortunately, the harsh impact of cancer has continued to affect both Gemma and Dillan.

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In 2019 Dillan’s best friend, Lewis Fowler passed away as a result of the disease aged just 20. Gemma’s friend, Niamh Hardy – who is also in her 20s – is now fiercely battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.

Gemma and Dillan wanted to do their bit to honour their loved ones and help others suffering with cancer.

The pair decided that they wanted to take on a challenge that would really put them to the test and so they have signed up to take part in a skydive on June 25.

But as if that wasn’t enough, Gemma has had another challenge to overcome.

Just a few weeks ago she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and felt the full effects of the illness. Fortunately she has now made a recovery and is raring to go with her skydive.

Gemma said: “It is a blessing to have recovered from COVID but it does make you realise how precious life is. The sadness that both Dillan and I feel every day as a result of losing loved ones to cancer will never go away, but we want to channel it into something positive.

“We have watched our mums and our friends battle so hard against the disease and they did so with such courage and determination and so this is the least that we could do to honour them in the best possible way.

Sheffield Hospitals Charity support our local cancer services so amazingly and it only seemed right that we give something back. By supporting our challenge we hope that more people will receive the amazing care that our loved ones received and that, one day, this horrible disease will be beaten.”

Dillan added: “What Gemma says is absolutely right and doing a skydive is pretty scary, but it is nothing compared to the fear that our Mums, Lewis and Niamh must have felt going through their cancer treatments and so we hope that it is a fitting way to honour them.

“When we jump out of that plane in June we will be thinking of them and, with the help of Sheffield Hospitals Charity and everyone who is so kindly donating, we hope that it will make a real difference to anyone else who experiences the same as our loved ones.”

Gemma and Dillan are raising funds on his justgiving. If you want to support them, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gemma-callaghan1

Last month, the pair became entered the top 15% of UK JustGiving fundraisers, thanks to their incredible efforts.

Ben Green, PR and Communications Manager at Sheffield Hospitals Charity, said: "Cancer is such an awful disease and it affects so many people in some way. What Gemma and Dillan have been through, and continue to go through is heart breaking, but seeing the way that they are doing something so amazing to honour their loved ones is remarkable.

“Both of them are certainly braver than I am to be jumping out of a plane at that height, but it just shows how important it is to support their efforts.

“You can take up your own challenge too! If you want to get involved then please contact us at [email protected]