When I originally asked Claire if she minded if I tried to fundraise, she was delighted but just before the page became active, I had to broach the horrible subject of “what if we don’t get enough money for your treatment?” and “what if you can’t use it for any reason?”. Claire was pragmatic and said she wanted the money to go to organisations that helped others in a similar situation if, for any reason, she couldn’t use it. She didn’t hesitate - that was what she wanted and so we had an agreement that we hoped we would never have to use.
The JustGiving page was active for 30 days and during that time Claire was receiving chemotherapy. This was a “holding” type of treatment that we hoped would keep the cancer at bay until the page closed and we could access the money to pay for the drugs that would give her the best possible chance. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy made Claire ill and, despite the treatment, the cancer continued to advance. Shortly after the page closed and we had the money ready to purchase the drugs, Claire’s Consultant advised the family that she was now too ill to undergo further treatment. This was a devastating blow. None of us had anticipated that so much would change in just 6 weeks.
So, it is with a heavy heart that I find myself in a position where the money isn’t going to fund Claire’s treatment. In the past few days, with Declan (Claire’s husband) and the family’s agreement, the money has been distributed in accordance with Claire’s wishes but with an amount reserved to pay for Claire’s funeral and a modest fund set aside for her young son, Harley. The remainder (and bulk) of her legacy has therefore been donated as follows:-
- Team Verrico (Registered charity number 1158126) - Team Verrico helped Claire with not only advice but also support from the day she contacted them until the day she passed away. Among other services, Team Verrico take pride that not only do they help a patient suffering with cancer but their families are equally important and to that end, they source counselling and/or other specialist services even after a loved one has died. For the last 6 months of Claire’s illness, Jackie McHale from Team Verrico (who works for them on a volunteer basis) was always on the end of a phone/email/text and despite working full time, she always had time to listen and support. That’s just an example of the work that Team Verrico do behind the scenes. They look after and become part of the family and will remain a support for Claire’s family should it be needed in the future. For more information, please visit http://www.teamverrico.org/about/
- Prevent Breast Cancer (Registered Charity Number: 1109839- The money donated will specifically fund research into Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Unlike other breast cancers, there are no preventative treatments and this is an area of research that desperately needs funding. Prevent Breast Cancer’s main focus is to prevent this disease through research to eradicate it for future generations. For anybody who visits the Nightingale Centre in Manchester in the near future, (Europe’s first purpose built breast cancer prevention centre) you will be able to see Claire’s name added to the beautiful Wall of Dedication in the foyer. For more informaton please visit https://preventbreastcancer.org.uk/about-us/
- Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services, Harold’s Cross, Dublin (CHY reference number is CHY1144) - Claire spent her final weeks at this Hospice that she described as safe and comfortable. The staff and care she received were second to none. The Hospice is only partially Government funded and therefore all donations are used specifically to improve the comfort of those using their facilities – for example fans in rooms, garden furniture etc.
It was my privilege to be part of this fundraising campaign for Claire, and whilst it was too late to help her, the money donated to the various causes are her legacy and I know she would be proud of what we achieved.