Friends of Gemma Sisson host 40-hour virtual birthday fundraiser after tragic cancer death

The friends of a Leeds woman who tragically died of cancer are hosting a 40-hour virtual birthday party, raising money for the hospice which cared for her in her final weeks.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 4:45 pm
Gemma Sisson-Moore's friends are fundraising for the hospice which cared for her in her final weeks

Gemma Sisson-Moore was diagnosed with incurable secondary cancer in September 2019, just months after being given the verdict of 'no evidence of active disease'.

She was admitted to Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in May 2020 after her condition deteriorated, where she tied the knot with fiance Ricky Moore.

Staff decorated a room in the hospice and even brought in a cake and make-up artist for the special day, which was attended by Gemma's parents.

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Gemma's friend Paul Metcalfe, pictured with his daughter Georgia, who has organised the 40-hour fundraiser

Gemma sadly died on July 22, 10 weeks after being admitted to the hospice.

On the weekend of what would have been her 40th birthday, her friends have launched a 40-hour virtual party, inviting people to put on their best outfits and dance around their kitchens.

A huge line-up of DJs, including Utah Saints, Miguel Campbell and Danny Bond, will play in turn from 6am on Friday to 10pm on Sunday.

Gemma's friends hope the three-day 40-For-40 event will give back to Sue Ryder - which has warned the pandemic has had a "devastating impact" on its funding.

A huge line-up of DJs, including Utah Saints, Miguel Campbell and Danny Bond, will play across three days

A JustGiving page has been set up for supporters to donate to the charity while enjoying the party and donations have already been flooding in.

Gemma's friend Paul Metcalfe, who DJs under the alias Campo, is one of the organisers of the event.

He met Gemma 15 years ago when they were avid clubbers in Leeds and has been blown away by the support for the fundraiser.

Hairdresser Paul, 42, said: "I know a lot of the DJs from the Leeds scene and even if they didn’t know Gemma, they knew of her story. I'm buzzing that people are so happy to be involved.

"The story and her cause for trying to get full body scans for cancer patients warmed a lot of people’s hearts.

“It makes me feel really proud. I’m not working at the minute, I can’t DJ or cut hair, so this is something really positive for me to focus my mind on."

Paul praised Sue Ryder for their "amazing" care and was one of 50 people who gathered outside Wheatfields Hospice to show their support for Gemma and Wheatfields staff during the final Clap For Our Carers.

“This weekend is a hard time for a lot of people", Paul added.

"The event has given everybody a release. We’re doing something that she would have absolutely loved.

“We want people to log in, have a boogie around the kitchen or living room, and get involved - and send Wheatfields some money!”

Gemma's friends and family have vowed to keep fundraising for Wheatfields Hospice to make sure it can continue to support other families in the future.

Kirsty Christmas, community fundraising manager at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, said: "A huge thank you to Gemma's friends for planning this spectacular virtual event to celebrate her life and raise much-needed funds for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice.

"It will be the perfect way to remember her on what would have been her 40th birthday weekend, so we hope lots of people join the party!

"The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating impact on our funding and we remain heavily reliant on voluntary income from companies, trusts and foundations and individuals donating and fundraising for us.

"We are so grateful to Gemma's family and friends, who have already raised over £34,000 to support our vital work and help us continue to be there when it matters for local people and their families.''

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