A brave cancer sufferer who launched his own charity foundation and raised thousands of pounds has died at the age of 22.
Paul Oakley died at the home he grew up in in Bloxwich after battling cancer for almost two years.
In the last months of his life Mr Oakley set up a charity called The Joker Foundation, to raise cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Royal Centre Defence Medicine Patient Welfare Fund which supported him through his fight with the disease.
He vowed to raise £5,000 before his death, and managed to reach that target, raking in funds through a 10km trek in July. Mr Oakley, of Birdbrook Road in Great Barr, was diagnosed with cancer after visiting his GP to find out the cause of a niggling cough back in 2011. The tumour was discovered in his chest. He was put on an intensive course of radiotherapy but the cancer in his chest spread to his liver, lungs and stomach and in April doctors told him the illness was terminal.
Mr Oakley was told at the time he had up to 12 months to live.
Mr Oakley, who joined the Royal Navy when he was 16, said before his death that the support from his family helped him to stay positive. He married his wife Joanne, aged 34, in June, and formed a close relationship with her 15-year-old son Brad.
His father Andrew Oakley paid tribute today. He said: “Paul lived life to the full.
“Everything was full on. He was not one to be sat in front of the telly. Instead he would be out playing football and tennis, and he joined the sea cadets. His life was action packed, and he crammed an awful lot into the 22 years we had with him.”
He added Paul was an active member of Darlaston Town Football Club, and Bilston Tennis Club, and was known for his fun nature and that is why he was nicknamed ‘the joker’. The family have vowed to continue to run the Joker Foundation.
Mr Oakley added: “I would like to thank all the people who have supported him through his battle with cancer. A massive hole has been left in our lives now. But we are very grateful that we have Jo and Brad in our lives, and we promised Paul we would look after them.”
A full military funeral will be held at All Saints Church in Bloxwich on Thursday at 2.30pm, followed by a cremation at Streetly Crematorium at 3.30pm. All donations at the funeral will go to the Royal Centre Defence Medicine Patient Welfare Fund.
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