Grieving best friends raise money for cancer ward

Laura Ridley and Ellen Burgess with pictures of their parents
Laura Ridley and Ellen Burgess with pictures of their parents

Two Burgess Hill women who experienced the tragedy of losing a parent to cancer are raising money to help others fight the disease.

Ellen Burgess and Laura Ridley, both aged 31, were brought together after chatting on Facebook.

Laura and Ellen

Laura and Ellen

They are now best friends and neighbours.

Mum-of-one Ellen, a full-time cleaner, started chatting to Laura when she started selling donated unwanted items on Facebook to raise money for the cancer ward at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

This is when Laura decided to jump on board and help.

The pair have managed to raise £2,610.40 so far for the Sussex Cancer Fund, who work with the NHS to create new and improved facilities for hospitals in Sussex.

Ellen’s dad, Chris Burgess lost his battle to lung cancer in 2009 at aged 51.

She said: “He lost his voice and had a really bad cough. He had tests and found out he had lung cancer.

“It was a really hard time for us all. I was really close to my dad.

“When he died, I promised the ward I would fundraise for them, but I was in such a bad place at the time – I am in a better place now.

“The hospital has a wish list and we have managed to buy a chemo chair, two chemo stools and five heat pads for them so far.

“It feels amazing to have had such a response, I did not think so many people would come forward to help.”

Laura, a full-time carer for her partner, who is registered blind, lost her mum Angela Ridley, aged 56, to secondary bone cancer in November last year.

She was also registered blind after being born with albinism.

“The people who looked after my mum were amazing,” said Laura.

“Cancer affects so many people and I think that has struck a chord with people.

“We weren’t able to help our parents so it is nice to help other people.

“We thank everyone for donating, we couldn’t have done it without them. We want to help give other people a chance.”

The pair said they are going to ‘keep going’ with raising money.

“Everyone grieves in different ways, but something like this gives you a purpose,” said Ellen.

“We don’t get over grieving, but we learn to live with it. The nurses went above and beyond with my dad.”

Laura added: “We have both kept eachother going – we have the ability to calm each other down.”

To donate items email lauraridley94@hotmail.com.

Donations must be in a clean and good working order.