AN inspirational Johnstone mum is celebrating a fundraising landmark after coining in a massive £25,000 for a leukaemia charity in memory of her much-loved son.

Since losing Derek to the condition almost 24 years ago, Susan Brown has been raising money for Bloodwise – formerly known as Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research – in the hope of improving research into blood cancer.

Susan, 79, started out by raising money for the ward at Gartnavel Hospital, in Glasgow, which looked after Derek, as she saddled up for a bike ride from Irvine to Loch Lomond.

READ MORE: Erskine gamers aim to show red card to stigma surrounding mental health

Ever since then, she has been organising annual ladies’ nights at Lilybank Bowling Club, in Johnstone, which have attracted between 130 and 150 people.

And she has also put a lifelong passion for needlework to use by making colourful crocheted crosses for people to buy around the town in aid of Bloodwise, with these being sold by a number of local businesses.

Susan, who has two other children, said losing her son when he was just 26 was a devastating experience, but it made her determined to do her bit to support other people in a similar situation.

She told The Gazette: “Derek was an athletic man, but then he was gone within eight months.

“Because he had leukaemia, I’ve been keen to do some fund-raising for the charity. I guess I wanted to support other people going through what we had to go through.

“I want to thank all the ladies who have come along to the events over the years because I couldn’t have done this without them.

“I’m going to finish my fund-raising now, as I’ve done it for a long time, but I hope I’ve made a difference.”

The Gazette: Susan organises annual fundraising nights for the charity Susan organises annual fundraising nights for the charity

Blood cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and, while progress has been made in improving treatment since Bloodwise started up in 1960, it is still the third biggest cause of UK cancer deaths.

Bloodwise funds world-class research and aims to ensure everyone affected has access to the right support at the right time.

Since 1960, the charity has invested more than £500 million in research to try to save lives and improve the lives of people with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers.

READ MORE: Lochwinnoch gives Sibyl collective hug to help her recover from ordeal

Stacy Rowan, Bloodwise fundraising manager for Scotland, said the money Susan has raised over the years has helped to keep more families together.

She added: “Susan’s commitment to fund-raising has been incredible and what she has achieved is inspiring.

“Blood cancers are the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. The money Susan has raised has helped make research into more effective treatments possible, keeping more families together. 

“We’re hugely grateful for her support.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond