Steve hopes community will help lifesaving research at awareness event
- Credit: Steve Gazzard
Exmouth’s prolific charity champion Steve Gazzard has lined up an ambitious fundraising event that aims to bring people together and raise awareness of health issues that are close to his heart.
Steve and his legendary ‘merry band’ of volunteer supporters are staging a community fair in The Strand on July 24 - an opportunity for businesses, groups and organisations to showcase their work and a chance for Steve to promote the value of being an organ donor.
Money raised from staging the transplant awareness event - which couldn’t happen last year because of the coronavirus crisis - will help fund ongoing research into idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung condition that claimed his daughter Sarah Wright’s life eight years ago.
Sarah died while waiting for a double lung transplant in 2012 and Steve promised her he would raise funds for research in her name.
That research is being undertaken by highly skilled scientists working on the very edges of medical knowledge on behalf of the British Lung Foundation at Brompton Hospital in London.
Next month’s community fair could feature up to 40 stalls and Steve has arranged for musicians to entertain, giving their time for free.
He will shortly be sending a letter to local businesses to invite them to provide a prize for teh tombola stall.
He said: “I understand it has been a very tough year for businesses and I sympathise with them in this difficult economic climate but I hope they will support the event if they possibly can.”
Usually, Steve holds a number of fundraisers throughout the year for the charity but these had to be cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
One of his biggest fundraisers is the transplant awareness event held in The Strand, which was cancelled this year. This year it is back on and Steve hopes the community will get behind it as it has in the past.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in which the lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult.
It's not clear what causes it, but it usually affects people who are around 70 to 75 years old, and is rare in people under 50.
However, Steve revealed that increasingly, doctors are finding that younger people are being affected. This was what happened to Sarah.
Several treatments can help reduce the rate at which IPF gets worse, but there's currently no treatment that can stop or reverse the scarring of the lungs.