Article courtesy of The Portsmouth News
Written by Belinda Dickins
Tom Ingram was just 13 when his mum Karen died at 40 years old in 2008 from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Brave Tom, now 25, used his grief to kickstart a fundraising effort that has netted £15,000 in 12 years under The Karen Ingram Foundation.
Now he has registered with the Charity Commission – making his cause an official charity and ensuring his work will continue to support research into a treatment and a cure for the cancer his mum had.
Announcing the step on the 12-year anniversary of his first fundraiser, Tom told The News: ‘For the last 12 years we have been raising money for various local charities, about a year ago we decided to take the plunge and do something unique of our own.
‘As a family we thought we would like to tackle this and hopefully prevent other families from going through it.’
Karen’s battle against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma started in July 2007 when she began to experience stomach pains, which were initially diagnosed as a stomach ulcer, until she discovered she had the disease two months later.
Karen underwent a lifesaving operation when her bowel perforated after two gruelling five-day bouts of chemotherapy on her return home from Queen Alexandra Hospital where she was being treated.
She pulled through after surgeons removed two tumours the size of lemons from her bowel.
She restarted chemotherapy in February 2008, and during a break in treatment was surprised with a trip to Disneyland Paris to celebrate her 40th birthday with her family but sadly, following her return, scans showed the cancer had returned.
Her bowel perforated a second time and surgeons said there was nothing more they could do. Karen died at the Cosham hospital in the early hours of July 13, 2008, leaving behind husband Mike and then 13-year-old Tom and his brother Harry, 10.
Just a month after she passed away, Tom held his first fundraiser for the Rocky Appeal at Queen Alexandra Hospital as a way of saying thank you to the staff – and he raised more than £3,500 for the charity.
Following the success of the first event on August 26, 2008, the family has continued raising thousands of pounds for charities over the years, primarily to benefit cancer patients and their families.
Tom, who describes himself as IT by day and fundraiser by night, is over the moon that all their efforts have now led to a charity registered in Karen’s name.
He said: ‘I’m delighted about it, I have always thought I would like to do that one day and I didn’t think it would come round as quickly as it has.
‘Hopefully it means my mum’s name stays out there, I didn’t want my mum’s death to be in vain.’
The charity will raise money to make grants to medical researchers at the University of Southampton who organise clinical cancer trials into effective treatments.
People can make a donation by visiting kareningram.org/donate or email email@example.com to contact Tom.