Leeds friend’s skydive in memory of pal

Iona Kesteven and Molly Leaf.
Iona Kesteven and Molly Leaf.
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A student is to skydive from 13,000 feet in memory of her best friend who lost her battle against cystic fibrosis.

Molly Leaf has already raised £510 for the Cystic Fibrosis Holiday Fund which helped her pal, Iona Kesteven.

Iona died last November, aged 19 years old. The young women, from Horsforth, had been friends since school.

Iona was an enthusiastic supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Holiday Fund and had dreamed of doing a charity skydive with her best friend when she felt well enough.

Molly, 19, said: “Me and Iona had a conversation around two months before she passed away. We were talking about raising money for the fund itself. She said she would love to do a skydive. I said that I would do it with her when she got better. She said: ‘I wish I was well enough to do it.’”

Molly, who hopes to complete her challenge in March, said Iona handled the disease “amazingly.”

“She got on with it,” said Molly. “She passed her first year of A Levels. She never let it stop her from doing anything. She was really funny, she had a really good sense of humour. She enjoyed dancing and was really good at drawing. She was selfless, always putting others first.”

The fund provides grants for families and young adults with cystic fibrosis, enabling them to take a break. It helped to pay towards Iona’s honeymoon in Greece after she married fiancé Laurie two and a half years ago, and other trips.

Laurie Howard, Cystic Fibrosis Holiday Fund general manager, said: “Molly has been an absolute star, she has undertaken all fundraising tasks in her stride and in a personable and professional manner belying her young years. Molly has been a ray of sunshine, I hope she inspires people to help others.

“It is with deep sadness that we heard about Iona’s passing, she was a wonderful young woman.”

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