Leon Gold’s love for life has inspired his wife Sally to leave an in-memory gift to the ICR, after he tragically passed away from lung cancer in April 2012.
Leon knew how to live life to the full. His big heart, generous spirit and great sense of fun meant he was loved by all. As a keen scuba diver, glider pilot and skier, he embraced life.
Leon was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2011. During his 15 months of treatment he remained optimistic. As a scientist in training, practice and nature, he took an active role in understanding his illness and treatment. He faced it unflinchingly and with immense courage and unfailing cheerfulness.
Lung cancer remains one of the most difficult cancers to spot and to treat at an early stage. It has a high mortality rate.
Sally explained: “Leon chose aggressive treatment which was cutting-edge. All such research and treatments are supported, and in many cases made possible, through charities such as the ICR.”
In memory of Leon, Sally has chosen to support the research of Professor Caroline Springer, formerly the leader of the Gene and Oncogene Targeting team at the ICR, and now based at the CRUK Manchester Institute. Professor Springer was developing a novel, targeted treatment for lung cancer. The therapy, known as GDEPT (Gene-Directed Enzyme Prodrug Therapy), uses a modified virus to attack cancer cells and leave the healthy cells unaffected. Sally funded a number of experiments to validate the treatment.
Remembering her husband, Sally says: “Leon had a lively curiosity and idiosyncratic approach to everything he experienced, everyone he met; everything new and unknown. He undoubtedly would have taken a great interest in the GDEPT project.
“Leon was intellectually gifted and an accomplished academic with a PhD in psychology. He was a senior lecturer at two London universities and was well-loved by his students for his riveting teaching and the fact that he was ‘cool’.
“His message to those he left behind is simple and immensely inspiring: to find the joy in life. And that is something we must surely all endeavour to do.”