A truly inspirational Leyland man who lost his battle with cancer is now leaving behind a legacy through his loving family and friends.
Ross Tomlinson was diagnosed with a rare and acute form of brain tumour, Medullablastoma, when he was just 18.
After a long, brave and traumatic fight against the illness, which involved neurosurgery, 70 radiotherapy sessions, and 23 months of intensive chemotherapy, Ross tragically passed away in August last year, aged 21.
But those closest to him have found strength from Ross’s enthusiasm for life, which he even managed to demonstrate during his aggressive treatments.
His mum Linda, 49, dad Michael, 54, and sisters Samantha, 27, and Nicola, 28, have set up the Ross Tomlinson Tribute Fund in his memory, to raise vital funds to support the hospital which Ross attended.
Linda said: “Ross raised £13,000 from doing a skydive during his chemotherapy, because he wanted to contribute to the Christie Young Oncology Unit in Manchester.
“The unit also arranged for him to sail with Dame Ellen MacArthur, and he took part in white water rafting too. He was extremely strong. He was amazing.
“Ross was a qualified joiner and had been doing an apprenticeship, but he had to re-think his career because he wasn’t as fit after all the treatment.
“He had secured a place on an animal management course at Myerscough College because he loved animals, and everything was starting to look up.
“He was due to start the course in September, but in the summer he became increasingly ill, and he sadly died at the end of August.”
Ross, a former pupil of Leyland Methodist School and Balshaw’s High School, asked for his funeral donations to be given to the Young Oncology Unit (YOU), which specialises in caring for cancer patients aged 16 to 24.
It enables the patients to have as normal a life as possible, while also providing once-in-a-lifetime adventure activities and holidays.
The Ross Tomlinson Tribute Fund motto – Keep the Adventure Alive – is a testament to Ross’ thirst for life, and encourages those left behind to continue raising money for the cause.
There are a number of events planned for throughout the year to help the group reach their £30,000 target, and Balshaw’s High School helped kick off proceedings by holding a non-uniform day, which raised £1,000.
Ross’s best friend, Stuart Humber, former Balshaw’s Head Boy and now secretary of the Ross Tomlinson Tribute Fund, said: “Ross had a great set of friends and had fond memories from his time at Balshaw’s.
“I know that Ross was proud of his school and would be very humbled by the support and the work that the pupils and staff have offered to his family and the Christie YOU that supported him through his illness.”
Ross was described by headteacher Jo Venn as a keen sportsman who represented his school in football, rugby, athletics and basketball.
She added: “Ross was an excellent student. He worked hard and played hard.
“You could not help but like Ross as he had a cheeky smile and was always happy. Even when he was ill, he thought of others and wanted to raise money for the unit.
“Ross’s funeral was a sad but proud time, and the support for him and his family was amazing.
“We all miss him.”
- Visit www.rosstomlinson tributefund.org to find out more about the events taking place this year, and for details about how to donate to the cause.