A new father has died of cancer aged 36 – and his heartbroken family are raising thousands of pounds in his memory for a very special charity.
Jordan Spilman died on Saturday (13 March), surrounded by his family in York. He leaves behind a wife, Cat, and an 18-month-old baby daughter Penelope.
A talented artist, Jordan was originally from Riccall. He moved to New York to work on some big movies and TV series, including The Dark Knight Rises, The Greatest Showman, and Mr Robot. He was a scenic artist.
Just under two years ago, doctors discovered a tumour growing at the base of Jordan’s spine, and began a programme of chemotherapy. Cat was pregnant with Penny at the time.
Tragically the treatment didn’t prove successful. A BBC Look North report in March showed Jordan writing letters to his daughter so she can hear them in later life and remember her dad.
He died holding his wife’s hand. In a moving post, Cat said: “Those of us who knew him well will miss his humour and his genuine enthusiasm for life and the people around him.
“He loved his friends and family fiercely and revelled in their company. He was the life of the party, an excellent dancer, a reliable confidant.
“I will miss my best friend every day – I already miss him terribly – and will struggle to understand why he wasn’t allowed more time with our little daughter.”
Now his cousin David Spilman is planning to run 10km each day for 10 consecutive days in April 2021, to raise funds for St Leonard’s Hospice in memory of Jordan.
He will be joined in this athletic endeavour by William, 18, and Thomas, 17, sons of another of Jordan’s cousins, Andrew McKenzie.
The 100km fundraising idea came about because Jordan was a patient at St Leonard’s Hospice and the family wanted to show their gratitude for the inspiring, supportive and caring approach of the whole hospice team.
William and Thomas’s father Andrew McKenzie said: “Jordan showed amazing courage and determination and that inspired us all to do something in return.
“The team at St Leonard’s are utterly amazing and raising funds via our 10km a day for the first 10 days of April is a way of showing our appreciation for the great work they do.”
St Leonard’s Hospice provides specialist palliative care and support for people with life limiting illnesses. It is entirely funded by donations.
The fundraising target is £5,000, with about half that already raised.
Andrew added: “We are encouraging everyone to make a donation so that St Leonard’s can carry on supporting other families.
“My two sons and cousin David would also welcome some encouragement during the challenge and we are planning to set up a web cam so supporters can follow their progress.”
To donate, visit the JustGiving page.