GREAT Harwood teenager Sam Canning gave a heartfelt speech about losing his brother to cancer at a charity ball which helped raise £12,000 for Cancer Research.
His personal experiences touched the hearts of many of the 300 guests at the recent Mamma Mia Ball, organised by the Ribble Valley and White Rose Ladies Club at the Rendezvous Hotel in Skipton.
Sam, 18, of Mercer Drive, spoke about losing his brother Ben in 1999 and encouraged people to donate to the children’s cancer funds within Cancer Research UK.
Ben, who died aged 15, was a student at St Christopher’s High School, Accrington.
He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma – a cancer of the blood which affects the white cells – just weeks before his death and died after a bad reaction to the chemotherapy.
Clitheroe Grammar School pupil Sam, who has another brother Lee, said: “Losing my brother to cancer has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to live with. He was more than a brother, he was my friend, and never a day goes by when I don’t think about him and miss him.
”It hit the family very hard. In the last couple of years I have got involved with a lot of fund-raising events as a volunteer speaker for Cancer Research.
“We must remember that although a lot of money is being raised and survival chances are going up, people do still die.
“It does get easier. I still think about Ben every day but it’s nice to be able to take my tragic experience and help others by making sure it happens less and less.”
His mum Yvonne, who is a member of the Ribble Valley and White Rose Ladies Club, said: “It was a very emotional night as we all had very heartfelt reminders of what the evening was all about.
“It can be easy to forget the devastation that cancer causes as life carries on around you. But when your family has been so personally affected by cancer, it’s important to attend and support events like this.”