Tragic death of 24-year-old Milton Keynes woman prompts massive fundraising drive

The sudden death of a much-loved young woman has prompted thousands of pounds to be raised for research into the cruel disease that struck her.
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Lucy Dawson was just 24 when she died unexpectedly in May this year from very rare life-threatening condition called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).

The disease is caused by an overactive and abnormal response of the immune system resulting in the body attacking its own healthy cells.

Previously fit and healthy, Lucy was a member of Tattenhoe Football Club, where her father Chris is chairman.

Lucy Dawson was a much loved member of the MK Dons staff teamLucy Dawson was a much loved member of the MK Dons staff team
Lucy Dawson was a much loved member of the MK Dons staff team

She was also a highly popular face at MK Dons, where she worked in her dream job as Hospitality and Events Coordinator.

Lucy had been a season ticket holder at the club from an early age and attended games with her family before joining the media team on work experience while she was still at school.

Her death left her colleagues at Mk Stadium reeling and determined to raise money to hep other people suffering from HLH.

A spokesman said: "Lucy was just 24 and a healthy, beautiful, talented, funny young woman working her dream job in the hospitality and events team at MK Dons football club.

Lucy with her colleagues from MK DonsLucy with her colleagues from MK Dons
Lucy with her colleagues from MK Dons

"There are really no words to express the shock and extreme sadness we all feel by the loss of such a vibrant and spirited young person.”

A team of Lucy’s friends, family and colleagues are now organising a special Hike for Lucy on October 8, planning to trek up Mount Snowdon to raise funds for HistioUK.

This the only charity that backs research into the little-known condition and it supports the families of those who have lost loved ones as well as promoting and funding scientific research.

A Hike For Lucy fundraising page has been set up and already £7,322 has been raised in donations.

Lucy was a football fan from a young ageLucy was a football fan from a young age
Lucy was a football fan from a young age

A spokesman for the hike said: “HLH is an abbreviation of a long name that no one can pronounce (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis)... It affects just 1 in 1.25 million people when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive after what can be any normal infection.

"Basically, after anti-bodies have fought off the nasties they just don’t stop and they start fighting anything they can find, eventually attacking healthy organs.”

You can donate to Hike For Lucy here.

A second fundraiser for the charity was set up following Lucy’s funeral and this has raised a massive £9,700 for HistioUK.

A spokesman for Lucy’s family said: “We would like to raise awareness of and much-needed funds for the research and early diagnosis of HLH. If we can help prevent just one other person and their family and friends going through what we have all been through, we know Lucy would be grateful."

Meanwhile, staff at MK Dons will be travelling 4,912 miles on foot to matches this season to raise more cash in Lucy’s memory.

The first-team and Academy staff will be matching the miles on foot and the proceeds will be split between HistioUK and also Cancer Research UK to mark the current battle of MK Dons Goalkeeper Coach Lewis Price against testicular cancer.

You can support the MK Dons Staff Challenge here.