‘We want to repay Macmillan and Cancer Research UK’ – Family and friends to honour Stevenage woman’s memory after brain tumour tragedy

Daughter Katie, husband Graham and son John with Dee Ball, who died from a brain tumour in August 20

Daughter Katie, husband Graham and son John with Dee Ball, who died from a brain tumour in August 2015. - Credit: Archant

The husband and daughter of a Stevenage woman who lost her battle with a brain tumour last summer will be going head to head in a boys versus girls team challenge in her memory.

Dee Ball had been at Chesfield Manor Stables in Graveley with her horse when she was taken ill in February 2013, with doctors revealing within a few hours of arriving at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital that she had an incurable brain tumour.

Despite the diagnosis, Dee was offered an innovative surgical procedure and some new chemotherapy partly funded by Cancer Research UK in a bid to slow down the aggressive Gliblastoma tumour.

By November 2013 it was clear the treatment had been unsuccessful, and Dee started to plan for her last Christmas with her family. She almost didn’t make it, being rushed to hospital four days before Christmas with a bleed on the brain.

But by September 2014 there was some positive news when another scan revealed the tumour had stopped growing, allowing her to spend some quality time with those closest to her – including her first grandchild Oliver whose daughter Katie had given birth to that February.

The tumour began growing again the following summer and Dee was no longer able to fight it, passing away in August last year at the age of 48.

Almost a year on, Dee’s family and friends – led by husband Graham and daughter Katie Golding – will be taking on the 5km obstacle race Gung-Ho! in Milton Keynes on Saturday, July 9, to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK.

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Graham, of Cromwell Road in Stevenage, is leading the boys’ team alongside son John.

The 51-year-old said: “I was supported amazingly by my fantastic family and by a lady who works for Macmillan, Maggie Fitzgerald.

“Without Maggie I don’t know how I would have coped. It was her support and that of my family, that enabled me to concentrate on the important thing, which was looking after Dee.

“During a very dark and trying time, both Macmillan and Cancer Research provided essential support. She should only have survived for six months, but their intervention helped Dee survive for 2½ years.”

Katie, 28, of Cleveland Way, said: “We have always been a very close family but through our grief and the events of the last few years we have grown closer.

“I am humbled by the way that my family all pulled together to support each other and mum, caring for her 24 hours a day when she was really ill.

“We feel strongly that we want to create a legacy for Dee and that we want to repay both Macmillan and Cancer Research UK for their support. But we wanted to do this in a way that Dee would have liked and enjoyed.”

To sponsor the boys team, which is backing Cancer Research, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/begunghoMK2016boys.

Alternatively you can give your support to the Dee’s Dazzlers girls team, who are raising money for Macmillan Cancer Suppport, at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/begunghoMK2016girls.

A charity gig called Deefest is also being held at Hitchin’s Club 85 on Saturday, September 17. Email deefest2016@gmail.com or visit the venue for tickets – which go on sale tomorrow.

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