The family of a Sunderland man who died just 24 hours after being diagnosed with cancer will honour his memory with a memorial bench.
Aidan Hailes, 23, fell ill at the end of December and was rushed to hospital by paramedics.
Doctors diagnosed Aidan, of Thornley Close, with acute leukaemia but within hours his health took a turn for the worse.
The Nissan worker was taken for an emergency operation at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after suffering a brain bleed on December 30, but tragically died.
Heartbroken friends and family paid tribute to Aidan, who was a loving son to Anne and Derek, and brother to Craig and twin Andrew.
Now Abby Harrison, who works with Anne in Greggs on Chester Road, has launched a fundraising campaign to buy a bench that will honour the Sunderland University graduate.
Abby, 28, said: “We asked Anne and their family what they would initially like and they said a bench would be the most fitting tribute.
“It is somewhere all of his friends could feel closer to him and the same for family members as they have a little dog so they like to go walking quite a lot.
“Herrington Park is somewhere they would like to place the bench because it is somewhere they regularly walk the dog.
“Obviously as soon as the fundraiser went up it reached £700 in about an hour and a half, so then again speaking with the family after that to see what they wanted, they came up with a few suggestions of charities and the hospital where they would like to donate the money to.
“A lot of the people who are donating are from Greggs and the Greggs Foundation has matched the donation of £250 from colleagues for Leukaemia UK.”
Abby, who has worked with Anne for 12 years, said the donations show how Aidan’s death touch everyone.
She added: “Anne has worked for the business for 15 years and has literally worked with everybody and everybody I have spoken to, literally multiple shops all over Sunderland, have been so hurt by what she’s gone through.
“There is not a shop in Sunderland that would not have been affected by Anne.”
Abby, who has spoken with Anne throughout the tragedy, said the family were keen for people be aware of the symptoms and how quickly things progressed with Aidan.
She said: “It was a few days before he actually passed away that he started to display symptoms.
“It was diagnosed as acute leukaemia with a bleed on the brain which is what he actually passed away from.
“A few days before Anne had text to say Aidan was having nose bleeds and noticed that when he was brushing his teeth his gums were bleeding quite a lot.
“She said ‘I think I’m going to have to take him to see someone’. As the day went on she said he was getting bruises all over his body, we don’t know what’s going on.
“They took him to the walk-in centre who referred him for blood tests the following day and within 12 hours of leaving the walk-in centre Aidan collapsed at home and sadly he never came back round.”
Aidan was rushed to hospital in Sunderland before being transferred to the RVI for an operation on his brain.
Abby said: “But when they completed the procedure they just couldn’t stop the bleeding because his leukaemia had advanced to a stage where his platelets wouldn’t allow the blood to clot correctly.
“Literally within 24 hours from him visiting the first doctor he passed away, it was really, really quick.
“I think that’s why Anne and the Greggs Foundation want to put some money towards Leukaemia UK to put more money into research because it is such an unknown area.”
Money from the fundraiser will also be donated to Ward 18 of the Intensive Care Unit at the RVI and Sunderland’s A&E department.
Abby said: “Anne said both of those were absolutely amazing with her, everything they did they tried to make every step of it easier for them to understand and said they went above and beyond.
“It is why she would like to send some of the money to those two.”
Since Aidan’s death, his family have been “overwhelmed” by the support from everyone and touched by how much everyone loved the former bartender.
Abby said: “Anne can’t put into words how supportive everyone has been every single person who has donated to either of the charity fundraisers.
“She is overwhelmed by how many people it has affected, if you know what I mean.
“I know some of his friends went and put flowers on his car outside his house and that kind of, nobody said anything about it, it just happened over the course of a few days and the car just became covered in flowers.
“I think it is a realisation of how amazing he was. How many people have been affected by everything.”
To donate to the fundraising campaign, visit here