One night of care led Chan to great heights

Chan lives in the small village of Bollington, Cheshire. When her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he had a night of care from a Marie Curie Nurse. Chan explains what that one night meant for her, and how – in her seventies - it inspired her to great heights to raise money for Marie Curie.

Chan stands on the wings of a plane completing her wing walk
In her seventies, Chan tried wing walking - all for Marie Curie!

When Chan’s husband Ron was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she cared for him in their home.

 “I was with my wonderful husband for 50 years and he was a super person. But he became so very, very ill, and I was nursing him, because I didn’t have anybody else.”

 She remembers clearly the day Marie Curie got in touch.

 “I got a phone call one night. It was in January, it was a bitterly cold night, early evening, and this lady said:

 ‘You need a good night’s sleep.’

 At first, Chan had no idea whose was the voice on the end of the line was:

 “She said: ‘I’m a Marie Curie Nurse. I know you need a good night’s sleep and I’m coming.’

 I said: ‘I’m fine.’

 She said, ‘I’ll be with you at 10pm .’”

A cup of tea

“At 10pm exactly she walked in the door.” Marie Curie Nurses -- they really know their business.”

“She said: ‘I need you to go to bed and get some sleep.’ I said: ‘I’m sorry but I’m never going to do that, this is how I’m dealing with things. But let’s have a cup of tea.’”

“Once we’d managed to do everything we needed to do for my husband, we sat in the lounge, and I probably talked to that lady more than I’ve talked to anybody.”

“I found out from her that Marie Curie Nurses are different to Macmillan Nurses because they will come and give hands-on nursing in people’s homes. I think that’s so important, and that’s why I’ve gone on to fundraise for Marie Curie like I have.”

Fond memories

“At 7am, when we’d done everything we could do and she was all ready for home, she said, ‘I’ll try and give you some more time.’

I said, ‘No you won’t. Because you’re so thin on the ground. Other people that can’t manage will need you. I can manage and I’ve had the opportunity to talk to somebody.’”

And despite the difficulty of this time, Chan has some fond memories of those final weeks with her husband.

“I would say, ‘When are you going, because I need a toy-boy and a white Mercedes Benz!’ and he would say, ‘Well, I’ll go when you’re ugly.’”

Chan stands with the pilot on front of the plane
Chan with the pilot who helped her complete her wing walking challenge.

An active supporter

Chan’s experience of Marie Curie has led to a passion for fundraising. In her seventies, she kicked off her fundraising with a wing walk, which raised over £6,000. The following year she completed Europe’s longest zip-wire. This year she has convinced the people in her village to get involved in a naked calendar!

“I loved the wing walking. I was the eldest female to have wing-walked at that moment in time. Although a lady has beaten me since.”

Although caring for her husband at the end of his life was incredibly hard, it convinced Chan of the importance of living life to the full.

“Oh, I’ve had a wonderful life. I’ve had a super life. Humour can take you a long way. You’ve got to get up. Every day. As long as you’re above ground you’ve got to keep going.”

 Chan is part of the Macclesfield Fundraising Group, who have helped her complete all her fundraising challenges. Over the last 5 years together they have raised over £83,000 for Marie Curie.