Leeds family raises £500 in honour of mum’s birthday

02 September 2021

A Leeds family has raised £500 for Yorkshire Cancer Research in memory of a much-loved charity volunteer.

Rochelle Gold, along with her sister Louise and dad Phil, asked for donations from family and friends on what would have been her mum Phyllis Harris’ 70th birthday, instead of the presents and cards she would have received.   

Phyllis sadly passed away from breast cancer at just 64 and would have turned 70 on August 1.

Rochelle said: “Knowing mum, she wouldn’t have wanted us to mark it in a sad way. She was a big believer in going out and enjoying life, so this was something positive for us to do for her legacy.

“If she’d had a party, she’d have said no to presents and asked for donations, so that’s exactly what we did.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research is a cause close to the family’s heart, as Phyllis was an active member of the charity’s Leeds Volunteer Group, which she joined after losing both of her own parents to cancer. She was a part of the group for much of Rochelle and Louise’s childhood, regularly hosting meetings in their family home and helping to raise tens of thousands of pounds for the charity.  

When Phyllis and her husband Phil celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, they asked for donations to be given to Yorkshire Cancer Research instead of receiving gifts.

Rochelle said: “They are a group that are close-knit and each and every one of them was close to mum. Since her death, they’ve all rallied around anything we’ve done for mum.”

Alongside her fellow volunteers, Phyllis dedicated a huge amount of her time to raising funds to help prevent, diagnose and treat cancer in Yorkshire.

“Whether organising and planning events, or making sandwiches for them, she was always involved in raising funds for the charity.”  

The Harris family had initially aimed to raise £250, but the generous donations from those who knew Phyllis meant that they eventually raised double their target.

For Rochelle, Louise, and Phil, it was important to continue to support the charity and the vital work they fund.  

Rochelle said: “The greatest gift we can give for her 70th birthday is to raise money for a charity that tries to find ways to stop families experiencing what we have.” 

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