Nurses made a big difference to Kathy’s family at a horrendous time
When Kathy's mother and sister were both diagnosed with lung cancer within months of each other, Marie Curie was there to support her.
Kathy's older brother Joe had died of lung cancer less than a year before, so this was a horrendous time for the family.
Marie Curie Nurses cared for both Kathy's mother Annie and sister Ann in their own homes, towards the end of their lives.
Kathy says the nurses made a big difference at such a difficult time, supporting the whole family as well as her mum and sister.
Easy to talk to
"Marie Curie Nurses deal with this kind of thing day in, day out. When I found it hard to talk to another family member, as it was hard to express what I was saying, the nurses were there, and they were so easy to talk to."
Annie was also cared for at the Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast for the last five weeks of her life. Kathy appreciated the fact the family were welcome to visit her at any time, with no restrictions.
After Ann and Annie died within a few days of one another, Kathy was devastated.
"After my mum and sister passed away, I felt so lonely and numb, even though I have a loving husband who was truly amazing during this awful time and four beautiful children. The loss seemed so great I really thought I would never get over it and life would never be the same again. I don't know if you ever get over this sort of loss but eventually you learn to live with it. Time is a great healer, it's true, but it does take time."
In memory of her family, Kathy decided to raise money for Marie Curie. She started with a fundraising walk, which raised around £9,000 for the charity. She then set up the Malone Fundraising Group, which has raised more than £200,000 through events ranging from coffee mornings and fashion shows to treks to Everest base camp and Kilimanjaro.
Kathy says: "I have met so many wonderful people and heard so many heart-breaking stories that it's made me realise my family are not the only ones to suffer from these awful losses. Our Everest trek was absolutely wonderful; everyone on the trek had their reason for supporting the charity and everyone had a story.
"It gives me great pride and satisfaction to know that other patients and families will continue to benefit from the amazing care and service that Marie Curie has to offer, be it at home or in a hospice."