Coe opens centre named after young cancer victim

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009
Jon Smith and Lord Coe at the opening of the Lee Smith Foundation lab

Jon Smith and Lord Coe at the opening of the Lee Smith Foundation lab

A multi-million pound laboratory researching groundbreaking cancer treatments has been named after the late wife of leading football agent, Jon Smith.

Lord Coe officially opened the Lee Smith Foundation Molecular Biology Laboratory in Hendon last week. The foundation was set up in memory of Lee Smith who died from leukaemia 28 years ago at the age of 29 and has raised money for research scientists, treatment and medical equipment throughout the world. The new laboratory will research vaccines for breast and prostate cancer.

“It was Lee’s wish to help people not suffer like she did,” Mr Smith said. “She spent her life helping people and I thing it’s wonderful that her influence continues through this work. We’re really impressed with the Middlesex laboratory. They do some really interesting research.”

Mrs Smith’s sister, Rita Leek and Barnet Mayor, Brian Coleman, joined guests at the official opening including Saudi princess Sara Talal Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who was named as the foundation’s new ambassador.

Foundation secretary Karen Rauch said: “The BRCA gene [linked with cancer] is so prevalent in the Jewish community. We want to try to do something about it. We’ve been responsible for saving thousands of lives and we want to make it millions.”

She added that the opening was “very moving” for the many friends and family of Lee Smith who were there. “Lee touched the hearts of all who knew her. She is still very much missed.”

Last updated: 2:24pm, September 24 2009