Keeping Shelly’s memory alive

Posted on in Fundraising, Hospitals

When 42-year-old Michelle Parker lost her fight for life in 2010 her partner Darren Watson launched a four-year-fundraising drive to keep her memory alive.

Michelle – known as Shelly to her friends – battled two brain tumours but despite everything she had been through she made Darren promise to give something back to The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for the amazing care she received.

Darren and Shelly

Shelly with partner Darren

Darren officially launched The Michelle Parker Charity with the aim of raising as much as possible to buy state-of-the-art equipment for the neurosurgery team at the Middlesbrough hospital.

He is now hoping to build on last year’s success by hosting his second annual charity night and auction at Rockliffe Hall Hotel near Darlington.

Sponsored by Teesside Audi, the black tie event takes place on Friday 19 October 2012 at 7pm and includes a five-course meal.

Never one to do things by halves Darren has secured some fantastic auction prizes including signed Chelsea and Manchester United shirts, a signed photograph of Take That and the weekend hire of an Audi Convertible.

Darren said: “Last year this event made just short of £8,000 which was amazing. We hope to top that figure this year and it’s looking good as we only have a few tickets left (priced £43) thanks to everyone who has returned from last year as they enjoyed the evening so much.

“The charity means so much to me as I think in my own way it’s keeping Shelly alive. I know she would be so proud of everyone who has supported me in all our fundraising events.

“Our golf day made nearly £2,000 at Darlington Golf Club and a charity music night at the Freemasons Hall, in which local band Playback gave their services for free, raised nearly £1,800.

“All I want is to raise as much as I can in four years which will hopefully one day help us move a step closer to a cure for the dreadful disease Shelly had.

“My heart goes out to everyone that has helped me over the last two years and I hope I can rely on them all for our next two as we are only half way there!”

Darren hopes to raise enough to buy leading edge equipment for the neurosurgical theatre, including:

  • An operating microscope with specialist immunofluorescent filters which will allow more radical removal of brain tumours
  • Highly specialised ultrasound scanning equipment which can be used to identify the position and extent of tumours during surgery
  • An image guided neuronavigation system which allows 3D modelling of tumours before surgery so that the operations can be performed with greater precision
  • Specialist endoscopic equipment which allows keyhole surgery for treatment of tumours.

“The care Shelly received at James Cook was unbelievable and the nursing care she had was amazing,” said Darren.

Consultant neurosurgeon Philip Kane added: “All funds raised in Michelle’s name will be donated to the neurosurgery department with the aim of equipping the neurosurgical theatre with additional state-of-the-art-equipment to ensure our patients have access to the very best treatments and the very latest technology.”

For more details or to pledge your support contact Darren on 07973 462878.