TV comedians join cancer fundraiser

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

WHEN bowel cancer sufferer Dean Laidler lost his friend Lisa Dempsey to the disease, he decided to help raise money to try to find a cure.

Mr Laidler, a chef and amateur DJ, from Kennington, died in February 2012, aged 31, after battling the disease for seven years.

Now his siblings have picked up his fundraising baton and are bringing the fight against cancer to Oxford next month with a comedy and cabaret night, The Bowel Variety Performance, at Freud Cafe, on Oxford’s Walton Street.

His sister Carla Prosser is organising the event with brother Greg Laidler and a group of friends.

Dean Laidler met Ms Dempsey through an online support group and organised the DJs v the Big C event at London’s Ministry of Sound in February 2010 following her death, raising £4,500.

Mrs Prosser said: “Back in 2010 when we did the DJ v the Big C event, although it was good, it was restricted in who could go.

“A six- or eight-hour danceathon didn’t really appeal to everyone and we wanted to see how we could get people from a wider demographic.

“The Bowel Variety Performance is a way to get people together.”

The show will feature comedians including Andrew Bird, who has written for 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Mock the Week, and Paul Tonkinson, who has appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.

All proceeds from the event will go towards the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

Mrs Prosser, who works for VTech Toys in Abingdon, said it had been easy to get the stars on board.

She said: “I pretty much got everyone through Facebook.

“Facebook can get a private message very close to somebody who you wouldn’t normally be able to speak to.

“I explained the whole story and everybody’s response back to me was that we have all been touched by cancer.

“It is good to do something which puts money back in and give money to research.”

Mrs Prosser said she hopes to raise £5,000 and is well on the way to that total, with seated tickets already sold out.

She said: “Dean really did always have hope. Right up to the last minute he had hope. He did a very good job of convincing other people that he was okay.

“Because Dean was so young the real message is if there are any other under-60-year-olds out there who show symptoms they should go to the doctor.

“Even if it is just one person (who goes) that is a good thing really.”

Standing tickets for The Bowel Variety Performance cost £16 from wegottickets.com/event/28540 For the symptoms, go to beatingbowelcancer.org

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