Leukaemia survivor and fundraising champion asks Milton Keynes to support ‘Concert for Kirsty’

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Husband hosts night of live music in aid of Cancer Research after losing his wife to lung cancer

A leukaemia survivor who lost his wife Kirsty to cancer just two months after they were married, is calling on music fans to support a charity concert in her memory.

Ed Jones, from Milton Keynes, is behind a night of acoustic sets, 60s pop and 80s party hits performed by three live bands to raise funds for Cancer Research UK on April 9.

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Ed said: “When I was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2006, I began organising yearly fundraising concerts and went on to raise £50,000. Now Covid restrictions have eased, we’re able to host this event at MK11 Music Venue in Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes for just £10 a ticket and all the proceeds will go to help fund lifesaving research for other people like Kirsty and myself who are diagnosed with cancer.”

Ed Jones pictured with wife Kirsty who lost her life to cancer just two months after they were marriedEd Jones pictured with wife Kirsty who lost her life to cancer just two months after they were married
Ed Jones pictured with wife Kirsty who lost her life to cancer just two months after they were married

Kirsty, a former hairdresser and a mum-of-two, discovered she had advanced lung cancer in March 2020, just before lockdown, during tests to monitor her recent diagnosis of lupus. She was given chemotherapy but with the new effects of the lupus, she struggled to tolerate treatment and spent long periods at MK Hospital Cancer Centre.

With Kirsty’s prognosis limited to months as opposed to years, Ed, a teacher at Denbigh School at the time, was given time off to care for, support and spend quality time with her.

Ed, 50, said: “We were due to be married on August 6h that year but were unsure it could go ahead due to lockdown restrictions. We couldn’t postpone it due to her limited prognosis and with huge help from councillors, MPs and Whittlebury and Northants registrars, the wedding took place in front of 20 people.

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“Kirsty’s consultants left a window in her chemo where she would be upright and active for the ceremony and we even managed a honeymoon, spent peacefully on the Gower Peninsula in Wales and then the North Essex and Suffolk borders.

“When we returned from honeymoon, things quite quickly began to deteriorate. I was called back to work to teach and Kirsty suffered a fall. Her mobility and memory was fading. We realised the unthinkable was rapidly approaching.

“A couple of weeks later she was transferred to the Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes and we adapted her treatment there so she could spend her remaining days in as much peace and as little pain as possible.

“In the early hours of October 11, Kirsty passed away aged 50. I will be forever grateful the hospice was able to allow me to stay with her constantly.”

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With both he and Kirsty receiving a cancer diagnosis, Ed has spent the past 16 years fundraising to help doctors and scientists find better ways to detect, diagnose and treat more than 200 types of cancer.

In Milton Keynes there are 1,300 cancer cases each year and Ed hopes that by hosting his ‘Concert for Kirsty’ he can give others a fighting chance at beating cancer.

Bands including ‘The Day Trippers’, ‘Hell in High Waters’ and ‘The Enigmas’ will be providing music across the decades for free to ensure all proceeds reach Cancer Research UK. Meanwhile, Haircut 100 bass player Les Nemes designed concert t shirts for supporters to buy and boost donations.

The event has been sponsored by local businesses Whittlebury Park, Moores Fish and Chips, Rock Hard Music Shop and Studio, Old Wolverton, Blades Barbers in New Bradwell and Grange Farm Co-Op.

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Tickets are available here or by searching for ‘Concert for Kirsty 09/04/2022’ on Facebook.

Ed added: “When Kirsty moved to Milton Keynes to live with me, the local Milton Keynes music community made her feel very welcome and she made lots of new friends. It will be a very poignant and emotional evening for myself and all involved but we are all determined to do her memory justice by providing an enjoyable evening for everyone and raising a bumper total to boot.”

Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of some of the biggest developments in cancer, from radiotherapy to some of the most used cancer drugs around the world today.

And now the cutting-edge research it funds has helped lead to more people than ever in the UK surviving their cancer for 10 years or more.

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Elisa Mitchell, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Buckinghamshire, said: “We are incredibly sorry to hear of Kirsty’s passing and are grateful to Ed for the great lengths he is going to to ensure people in Milton Keynes have a fantastic evening of live music whilst helping us to save and improve lives for generations to come.

“1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime, and as we mark our 20th anniversary this year, we will never stop striving to create better treatments for tomorrow. We've come so far. And we will go much further. Together we will beat cancer.”

Cancer Research UK spent over £34million in the South East last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.