Dozens don onesies in aid of Leeds gran who is dealing with cancer and paralysis double blow

Dozens of supporters gather for the start of the onesie walk in aid of Val Duggan.
Dozens of supporters gather for the start of the onesie walk in aid of Val Duggan.
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A community’s support for a once active Leeds grandmother, who became paralysed due to a cancerous tumour on her spine, has seen more than 80 people stride out in their onesies.

Retired nurse Val Duggan, from Beeston, flew out to New Zealand to support her daughter-in-law after she became ill in October. But during the trip Val lost the feeling in her feet and paralysis spread upwards.

Val Duggan pictured with three of her grandchildren.

Val Duggan pictured with three of her grandchildren.

The 62-year-old former St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School gardener was later flown home to Leeds where it emerged she had terminal breast cancer that had spread to her spine. She is paralysed from the chest down.

Val’s daughter Lisa Hirsch converted her living room into a makeshift bedroom for her mum in December and has launched an appeal to raise money to fund her care and pay for adaptations like a wet room and wheelchair ramp.

A fundraising onesie walk from Beeston through Middleton Woods last week raised more than £1,000 for Val thanks to more than 80 pyjama-clad supporters.

Lisa, a teaching assistant, said: “I’m really overwhelmed to be honest, and since the walk two more people have said they want to do more.”

After hearing of Val’s condition a number of local businesses and the Save Our Beeston residents’ group donated raffle prizes which were distributed at the onesie walk.

Lisa explained that Val is now on oral medication and is taking each day at a time, although her paralysis is thought to make her more susceptible to infection.

“It was quite a shock – she loved her ballet and performing, and she was very active,” she said. “It’s very busy now. I’m off work trying to settle into a routine with carers and nurses coming and going.”

Lisa added that the fundraising is to pay for work that is hoped to make Val’s life more comfortable. To donate visit

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