Why I’m putting on my football boots to fund Marie Curie Nurses

by Ellie Whittaker Student, University of York This week is Women's Football Week (#WFW14), which aims to increase female participation in football at university. As part of its two-year partnership with Marie Curie, British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) will donate £1,000 to the charity if 3,000 new female players, coaches and referees are in place by February 2015. And Ellie is doing some amazing fundraising too – donating £5 for every goal she scores this season!

Ellie Whittaker with her Nana
Ellie with her Nana

As my football season starts, so does my last season with University of York’s Women’s Football Club. BUCS has chosen Marie Curie as its official charity partner for the next two years, and I’m going to be raising money to support this fantastic charity this year.  I didn’t know anything about Marie Curie until very recently. Over the past four months my Nana, cousin and uncle have all lost their battles against cancer. I wasn’t there when my Nana, Audrey, died at the age of 76 this May, but my mum and her siblings were and recieved a lot of comfort from Marie Curie Nurses. My Nana was cared for at home and, when it was clear she was close to death, the Marie Curie Nurse stayed overnight so my family were able to get some sleep. She woke them up when it was clear it was the time and stayed with them as she passed away. Before this, the nurse had explained what the final moments would be like; how the breathing changes and what drugs would be given and why. She also explained what happens after the death. She contacted the other nurses to explain the situation so that my family could concentrate on preparing for the death. After my Nana died, the nurse left our family to say goodbye, while she rang a GP to confirm the death. The nurse had already explained the process so everyone was fully informed. The nurse’s help and support was priceless and she stayed as long as was needed to answer any questions. It’s such a traumatic time but the Marie Curie Nurse helped to alleviate some of the worries and concerns through all of the information she provided.

Fundraising goals

That’s why, for every goal I score, either for University of York Women’s Football Club or University of York Futsal Club, I’m going to donate £5 to Marie Curie in support of the campaign to ‘fund a rugby team of nurses’ and in memory of my family members and others who have lost their battle against cancer and other terminal illnesses. I’m also going to be working with the University of York to support #WFW14 by organising women’s football tournaments and beginner sessions to get more women taking part in football, no matter their background or standard of play. I challenge any sports clubs in BUCS to support this incredible charity in whatever way they can, even if it’s just to increase awareness of the outstanding work Marie Curie Nurses do. Bring on the new season! For more information on Women’s Football Week please visit www.bucs.org.uk/WFW14