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Family and friends fundraiser for dearly departed man from Twickenham
A fundraising evening in the memory of a Twickenham man who lost his battle with leukaemia last year will be held on what would have been his 28th birthday.
Michael Neal lost his 14-month battle with the disease aged just 27, leaving his family and new 27-year-old wife Kirsty Neal devastated.
The charity event will be held at London Welsh Rugby Club on Saturday, August 31, to raise money for Anthony Nolan, a charity very close to Mr Neal’s heart, which works to save the lives of people with blood cancer.
The charity gave him and everyone around him the hope of a cure, despite the aggressive nature of his disease.
Mrs Neal said it was important to raise awareness of becoming a blood stem cell donor for the charity, especially with 20-somethings, who are the best age group to donate.
She said: “The more people that go on the register there will be more chance of people getting through this.”
As part of fundraising and awareness, Mrs Neal’s 23-year-old sister Kelly Walters is also shaving off her long blonde hair and donating it to the Princess Trust, which supplies wigs for children fighting cancer.
She has raised more than £1,000 in sponsorship so far, and Mrs Neal, who was with Mike for 10 years, said she was very proud of her sister.
She said: “My sister was really close to my husband – like best mates and obviously it was a huge shock to her. I think she just felt she wanted to do something for him.
“She’s young, she’s single, going bald like this just screams to everyone to pay attention to how important this is.”
His friends hope hundreds will turn up to their family-friendly event (with more than 250 tickets sold so far), which will feature live music, DJs, a raffle and auction with donations from Chelsea, Tottenham and Brentford Football clubs.
Mrs Neal said: “I think [Michael] would be overwhelmed with the support and love from everyone. He was such a humble and modest and gracious man.
“He would not want us sitting being upset on his birthday. He would want us to celebrate. If he knew what we were doing he would be really happy.”
To donate to Miss Walter’s fundraiser, visit justgiving.com/michael-neal and to find out more about Anthony Nolan, visit anthony nolan.org.
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