A young doctor who managed to raise £120,000 for Cancer Research UK was remembered at a memorial service at the University of Leicester today.
Dr Mark Sims, 28, died in January after battling a malignant melanoma, a condition which also affects his brother, father, aunt and grandmother.
He was 15 when he was first diagnosed with skin cancer and was able to beat the disease. But in 2015, the disease returned and spread around his body including his lung and liver.
While he was ill, he decided to raise £1,000 for Cancer Research UK but soon reached £20,000, which he used to fund a Cancer Research UK PhD student.
In January, Mark was given the news that nothing more could be done to stabilise his cancer. His response was courageous. He made a brave announcement on social media telling the world he was about to die and setting a target of raising £100,000.
Within 24 hours the total rose from £73,000 to well over this figure and now stands at £120,000.
On his blog page, Wrestling Melanoma, his mother wrote: “On 4th January Mark was given the news that there was no more treatment that could stabilise his cancer. When asked by one of his consultants if he would like to stay, he said confidently “Why not? This is the best hospital in the world and I am your favourite patient. Why would I go anywhere else?”
His parents said: “Mark was a beautiful person inside and out; he had such a straightforward and selfless approach to life. We are in awe at the way he turned the negative of a devastating prognosis into a positive of raising awareness of and funds for Cancer Research UK. It is his lasting legacy.”
The memorial was attended by Mark’s parents Chris and Sue, his twin, Dave, brothers Paul and Matt, and fiancee Georgie Latcham, with whom he had run a half-marathon.
Mark and his fiancée both studied at Leicester University and the memorial today was a touching celebration of his life with his family and friends.