Describing the impact that Gaz made on Sarcoma UK and the sarcoma community is so difficult because it is so far-reaching. Gaz Emmerson, whilst on chemo, led the single biggest fundraising event the charity has had to date, made multiple nationwide media appearances that were invaluable for sarcoma awareness and inspired many others to fundraise for Sarcoma UK. He also became a beacon of hope and positivity for sarcoma patients, making the most of his time despite his terminal diagnosis.
Gareth, more commonly known as Gaz, was a one of a kind, once in a lifetime character. He was incredibly witty, infectiously good fun and such a warm, welcoming person. Gaz was a die-hard Liverpool FC fan, loved going to concerts and festivals, worked incredibly hard at everything he did and was the life and soul of any party.
Gaz was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma in his sacrum in 2014. He underwent 9 rounds of VIDE chemotherapy and 30 sessions of radiotherapy before enjoying 2 years cancer free. In 2016, the cancer returned, this time in his lungs. Over the course of the next 6 years Gaz underwent 39 further rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and radiotherapy to so many sites he lost count but sadly, the cancer continued to get more aggressive and spread to more metastic sites.
Involvement with Sarcoma UK
November 2020 was a turning point for Gaz when he found out the cancer had spread to his brain and his diagnosis became terminal. He immediately decided to focus on something positive raising as much money and awareness as possible for Sarcoma UK. Gaz decided to do this by cycling 1000 miles from Lands End to John O'Groat's across 12 days in June 2021 with his then fiancé Zoe, dad Andy and four of his closest friends. He trained for bike ride whilst on chemotherapy and took a short break from treatment to complete the challenge. Team Gaz Emmerson's bike ride raised £117,000 for Sarcoma UK. Gaz and his childhood sweetheart Zoe were married at the Eden Project less than two weeks later.
Gaz remained actively involved with Sarcoma UK, speaking at a number of fundraising events and in the final week of his life made the very moving gesture of asking people to buy him a pint to see him out of this world by making a donation to the charity. Gaz passed away on 5 August 2022 with his fundraising total standing at £140,000.
Gaz inspired so many people but no more so than those closest to him. His wife, Zoe Homer-Emmerson is now a Sarcoma UK Ambassador and co-chairs our annual Glitter Ball committee. Many of his friends have already completed fundraising challenges for Sarcoma UK that are listed in the pages below.
Gaz had hoped to complete the Three Peaks Challenge for Sarcoma UK in the summer of 2022 but his health did not allow for it. In September 2023, Team Gaz Emmerson and anyone else who would like to join them will be completing the challenge in his memory.