Cancer charity Life Kitchen looks to official launch after mammoth fundraising effort

A son who lost his mother to cancer has raised more than £5,000 for a charity project that will offer free cooking classes to people with cancer.

Ryan Riley, a food writer and stylist who used to live in Streatham Common, lost his mum Krista to lung cancer when he was just 20-years-old.

Three years on and Ryan is setting up Life Kitchen — a free cookery school that aims to offer a solution to the 50% of chemotherapy patients who experience a loss or change of taste.

Ryan said: “My own mother had cancer and I looked after her while I was at college. It was an incredibly difficult time.

“She was diagnosed with terminal cancer and ever since the diagnosis, she knew she wasn’t going to be able to enjoy food again —  I think that’s just such a depressing thought.”

He said: “She was so disappointed at having to lose her sense of taste.”

Offering free classes to cancer sufferers and a friend or family member, Ryan, who is originally from Sunderland, has managed to raise £5,435 out of a £10,000 goal for Life Kitchen.

“I’m not saying this will offer up a cure or anything, but I want to use my skills to help those with cancer get more enjoyment out of cooking and eating,” he said.

“Our plan is to go everywhere, but for the meantime we are starting in London. We have had interest all of the UK, and even over the world —  there have been people in Australia contacting me asking to set something up over there.

“The response has been incredible.”

However, Ryan stressed that there is much further to go in terms of fundraising as renting a suitable kitchen could cost upwards of £550 a day.

Life Kitchen has already begun establishing connections with several high-profile charities and some potential sponsors.

“We are working with Macmillan to let people know about the classes, and to get appropriate nutritional information for our menus. It’s all very early stages right now but we want to be able to post the menu online, and from that people can pick and chose what classes they want to get a ticket to.

“In all the classes we will talk about seasoning food and the basic skills that can make dishes more enjoyable,” he said.

The Life Kitchen launch will take place on April 4th at Divertimenti, a cookery school in Chelsea, and they are hoping to kick start the first class by the end of April.

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