AN ‘EMOTIONAL’ Dunchurch family have raised a remarkable £90,000 in memory of their teenage son to fund vital new children’s cancer research and help children ‘live the life they deserve’.
Fred Bennett’s Don’t Look Down Fund was set up with Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) to raise money for much-needed research into acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), after Fred passed away from the disease in 2020 when he was just 14.
The tens of thousands of pounds raised in his honour since then has allowed CCLG to fund several new research projects that will help to broaden scientists’ knowledge and understanding of childhood leukaemias – and help them find kinder, more effective treatments.
Fred’s mum Louise said it was a ‘powerful legacy’ for Fred – and something that was incredibly important to the family.
She said: “There aren’t the words to express how much it means to us as a family to have Fred remembered in this way.
“We set up Fred’s fund because we wanted his life to make a difference and to help other children in years to come. It’s incredibly emotional, but we are so proud that Fred’s legacy has the potential to make that difference.
“Fred’s leukaemia was very aggressive, and we watched him endure difficult treatments that didn’t work for him.
“We knew what we wanted to achieve when we set up Don’t Look Down, but seeing projects that are specifically looking into something that would have helped Fred, or children like him, is very important.
“Losing a child to cancer is devastating, and if we can ensure that more children like Fred survive, it will be a very powerful legacy.”
Many of the fund’s activities have been inspired by Fred’s strength, exuberance and adventurous personality, as well as things he loved doing – and Louise said this had been an important way to honour his memory.
She said: “Everyone has very much entered into the spirit of Don’t Look Down and have been incredible and so supportive.
“People have jumped out of planes, cycled across Wales, and climbed mountains. We’ve had mud runs, go-karting, Halloween trails and donut eating – all the things that Fred would have loved.
“Fred was relentless, full of energy and life, and always doing ridiculous or dangerous things. Never still or quiet, he was always out on his bike or scooter or climbing something.
“He loved his friends and always wanted to be at the centre of any fun that was to be had. Even when he was ill, he still managed to go go-karting, and to get out on his bike.
“Don’t Look Down is important to us as it allows Fred to live on, both with people who knew him and those who never got the chance. We want people to know his name, and the fearless, wonderful boy he was.”
Louise said there was plenty planned for the future, with the family’s fundraising approaching a significant milestone which she hoped to reach in the coming months.
She said: “We are so close to breaking the £100,000 mark, which is very exciting. We hope to break that over the summer and are working on some new ideas for the autumn.
“Halloween means a lot to us, so watch this space.”
Lizzie Goates, Fundraising Manager Community & Corporates at CCLG, said: “We’d like to say a huge well done and thank you to the Bennett family and all their incredible supporters.
“Thanks to their continued efforts, we’re able to keep funding pioneering research that will help us to one day reach our goal of a world where every child with cancer survives and lives long, happy and healthy lives.”
Visit https://tinyurl.com/skh83rub to read more of Fred’s story and donate.
Contact Louise via Facebook at www.facebook.com/FredBennettdontlookdown to help raise money for Fred’s fund.