Life For A Cure appeal passes £250,000 mark
THE family of Ryan Bresnahan – the Clifton College student who died suddenly at the age of 16 after contracting meningitis – have passed the £250,000 mark in their fundraising efforts launched in his memory.
Michelle and John Bresnahan, from Leigh Woods, launched the A Life For A Cure appeal, in conjunction with Bristol-based charity Meningitis UK, in a bid to back scientific research looking for a vaccine to stamp out the disease.
In just two and a half years, Ryan's appeal has almost reached £260,000.
"This milestone could not have been achieved without such a huge amount of support from friends and family as well as people who didn't know Ryan," said Mrs Bresnahan, who ran with the Paralympic torch as part of the relay through London earlier this year.
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"It was always our intention when we started that some good would come of losing Ryan – we truly believe that has and continues to happen.
"The campaign has been a wonderfully pro-active way of turning our tragedy into some sort of positive and we believe Ryan would be proud.
"We just want to do all we can to find vaccines to wipe out the disease to stop other families from feeling the pain we feel every day after losing Ryan."
As well as raising money for vaccine research, Mrs Bresnahan understands the importance of raising awareness of the condition, which can overcome with dangerous swiftness.
"Ryan was so fit, healthy and sporty – he was the last person you would imagine falling to this illness," she said.
Ryan complained of a stomach ache the night before he died, but no one thought it was serious.
Ryan still felt unwell in the morning but was not complaining too much and had no telltale signs of meningitis.
"I went to the shops as he asked for Lucozade – that was the last time I spoke to him," she said.
"When I got back, a few minutes later, Ryan was unconscious."
Within just 18 months of Ryan's death, the couple had raised more than £130,000 in their son's memory and had funded a ground-breaking project at Sheffield University to try to find a vaccine for meningitis B, the strain of the disease Ryan died from.
To donate, visit the fundraising website www.ryanbresnahan.org.