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TOMATO FARM’S FUNDRAISING SUCCESS FOR WIGHT BRAINY BUNCH

L-R: Kathryn Grimes, Kristaps Lazdans, Nicky Richardson, Harry the Hippo and Mark Grimes

Following a staff member’s diagnosis of a brain tumour, APS Produce embarked on a fundraising campaign in 2018 to support the charity who had supported their colleague so much.

32-year-old Kristaps Lazdans was diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2017 and underwent extensive surgery in June 2018 to remove it. After an initial stay in Neuro ITU, he remained in hospital and subsequently a Rehabilitation Unit in Southampton for 4 months.

Throughout this time he and his partner Lelde were supported by Isle of Wight charity Wight Brainy Bunch, who funded travel and accommodation for Lelde to enable her to remain with Kristaps throughout. Kristaps and Lelde are both employees at the Arreton-based company, who are the UK’s largest supplier of British tomatoes.

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The Wight Brainy Bunch was nominated as the company’s charity of the year for 2018 and staff undertook a series of fundraising events including cake sales, Christmas jumper day, a football match and attended the Garlic Festival with mascot Harry the Hippo collecting donations, raising a total of £1,825 for the charity.

Nicky Richardson, APS Produce, says:

“Kristaps has been working with us for a number of years as a Cropworker which is a very physical job and the only symptom that Kristaps had was his loss of hearing in one ear. It was only on further investigation that the brain tumour was diagnosed and Kristaps continued to work up until the day before his operation.

“We at APS Produce were shocked by Kristaps diagnosis and desperately wanted to help him, Lelde and others in this situation. Kristaps is a very popular member of our team and we set about raising money for The Wight Brainy Bunch. It seems that we all love cake as that was our most popular event raising £1109!

“Kristaps has now returned to work on a phased return and all is going well. Kristaps and Lelde really are an amazing couple and Kristaps continues to amaze us every day with his progress and his drive to return to his full role”

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The Wight Brainy Bunch was set up by Ryde firefighter Mark Grimes and his wife Kathryn, following Mark’s own diagnosis of a brain tumour in 2015. The charity now provides emotional support and financial assistance to other Isle of Wight families facing this devastating diagnosis.

Kathryn Grimes of The Wight Brainy Bunch says:

“Kristaps underwent a huge operation to remove his tumour, and his recovery has been a long and difficult road. Initially he was unable to swallow or walk, he suffered nerve damage to his face and was fed by a tube for many weeks. To see how far he has come is incredible and we are delighted that we could help keep Lelde by his side throughout his treatment. The support from all the staff at APS has been incredible and we are so grateful to them all”.

To find out more visit www.thewightbrainybunch.org.uk.

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