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Party in memory of Preston carer’s life as family urge people to ‘battle for an appointment’

Posted on - 31st August, 2021 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Preston News
Family and friends celebrated Shirley’s life

The family of a Preston woman, who died of lung cancer within weeks of first being diagnosed, has raised £2,321 for charity by celebrating her life.

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Mum-of-two, nanna-of-four and care home carer Shirley Tully was just 61 when she died on 16 December last year.

Shirley had been referred to Rosemere Cancer Centre, Lancashire and South Cumbria’s specialist cancer treatment and radiotherapy centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, for chemotherapy and radiotherapy following her diagnosis in the September.

Read more: 16 and 17-year-old Prestonians urged to come forward for Covid vaccination

Her daughter Kim Crewe said: “Mum had been unwell since March but because of lockdown, wasn’t able to get a face-to-face GP appointment.

“Instead, she was told she had a chest infection and prescribed two lots of antibiotics. At one point, it was even thought her symptoms could have been Covid.

“By the time she was referred, her cancer was at Stage 4 and had spread into her sacrum. We were told a treatment plan could buy her more time but unfortunately, after two sessions of chemotherapy, mum got an infection so chemo had to be suspended.

“Following further tests and scans, we were then told her cancer was too aggressive and had spread throughout her body and that she had a matter of weeks to live. She died two days later, the day after my 31st birthday.

“Pandemic restrictions meant we could only have 15 people at her funeral. Deciding who could and couldn’t come was one of the hardest things we had to do as mum was a twin with two older sisters and a brother so a lot of family, as well as friends, had to miss out.

“We wanted to celebrate her life, turn a negative into a positive and help those facing the same diagnosis as mum, who had devoted her life to caring for others.”

Kim and other family members, including her sister Sarah and Aunty Susan, mum’s twin, first walked from Preston to the Windmill at Lytham to raise £700 for Rosemere Cancer Foundation, with the charity agreeing to ring fence all
money raised in Shirley’s name for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cardiothoracic and Biofluid Research Bank it is funding.

The bank, based at the Royal Preston Hospital, collects tissue, blood, urine and saliva samples donated by lung cancer patients.

Read more: Carers in Preston and Lancashire commended for their pandemic efforts as double jab becomes mandatory

It then makes them available to consultants and scientists researching how to diagnosis the condition earlier and also,
working to develop new, more effective treatments.

Kim’s 10-year-old daughter Faye added £47 to the donation by selling glass jars she had decorated. The final total was then made up of money raised at a celebration of Shirley’s life on Friday 20 August at Meadow Street Labour Club with DJ Slug that was attended by more than 100 guests.

Over 100 people attended the event to remember Shirley

At the get-together, Kim and Sarah had organised a raffle supported by local businesses, other games and collections plus a family member Lilly shaved her head, which was livestreamed, to add a further £680.

Kim said: “We now feel we have given mum the send-off she deserved as Friday night couldn’t have gone better and that the funds raised in her name will ultimately help those diagnosed with lung cancer in the future.

“When I began fundraising, I went in with my eyes closed, not knowing what to expect. I thought I might raise a few hundred pounds. I wasn’t expecting to raise anything like the amount we have. I am overwhelmed by everyone’s
support and generosity.

“As a family though, it’s difficult not think of what might have been had mum been seen earlier. We would urge anyone who feels there is something not right with their health to battle for an appointment because you just never know.”

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