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Family fun day celebrates life of mum, wife and cancer nurse specialist from Leyland

Posted on - 7th May, 2024 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Health, Leyland, Preston News, Proud Preston, South Ribble Locations, South Ribble News
Andrew and Charlotte with some of Sandra’s former colleagues, some of which still work at Rosemere Cancer Centre. Pic: Rosemere Cancer Foundation
Andrew and Charlotte with some of Sandra’s former colleagues, some of which still work at Rosemere Cancer Centre. Pic: Rosemere Cancer Foundation

A family fun day celebrating the life of a wife, mum and cancer nurse specialist from Leyland raised almost £3,000 for Rosemere Cancer Foundation

The day celebrated the life of Sandra Curtis who nursed on Ribblesdale Ward, before taking on a new role as an MSCC (Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression) co-ordinator. 

Sandra died in 2021 after being diagnosed and treated for cancer a second time. 

Read more: New Longton boy goes 1km each day for 40 days in grandmother’s memory

The day, at Charnock Farm, with 160 guests coincided with what would have been Sandra’s 60th birthday as well as the third anniversary of her death.

Family members, friends, neighbours and Sandra’s former work colleagues all celebrated together.

Sandra’s widower, Andrew said: “At the time Sandra died – April 2021 – we were still under Covid restrictions so could only have 30 people at her funeral. 

“Many people who loved Sandra and held her in high esteem for her work never had the closure that attending a funeral and a proper wake brings. It was always our intention to have an event celebrating Sandra’s life and we felt her 60th was the right time.”

Sandra (far right standing) on nursing duties on the Ribblesdale Ward, Christmas 2019, during a festive visit to patients and staff by Wigan Warriors
Sandra (far right standing) on nursing duties on the Ribblesdale Ward, Christmas 2019, during a festive visit to patients and staff by Wigan Warriors

Read more: Singing group for new mothers starts in Leyland

Alongside Andrew, the fun day was organised by Sandra’s daughter Charlotte, sister-in-law Janet Curtis, nieces Naomi and Hannah Curtis and her sister-in-law Margaret Hartley.

It had two raffles, a mega tombola, music and food as well as a reel of 863 photos of Sandra that Andrew had compiled from family albums. 

Andrew added: “Our thanks go to everyone who attended for their generosity and to the local businesses that donated raffle prizes.

“Nursing was Sandra’s vocation. When I first met her, she worked in catering but re-trained following Charlotte’s birth. Charlotte was born prematurely and had to spend her first five months in hospital. Sandra was inspired by the nurses who cared for her and worked as an auxiliary nurse at St Catherine’s Hospice before her training.

“After qualifying, Sandra’s calling was cancer nursing. Even when she was ill for the second time and her MSCC role became too much, she worked part-time at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital on the chemotherapy unit. It took the pandemic and being told to isolate as she was clinically vulnerable to stop her.

“The eulogies Sandra received from her colleagues and former patients have been a great comfort to both Charlotte and I. Now things have come full circle and Charlotte is a radiography assistant at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, often working with its breast unit patients. In her, Sandra’s legacy lives on.”

Andrew and daughter Charlotte at the family fun day celebrating Sandra’s life
Andrew and daughter Charlotte at the family fun day celebrating Sandra’s life

Read more: Garstang rallies in memory of woman who died on the M6

Sandra was first diagnosed with right-sided breast cancer at the age of 46 in 2009 for which she underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

However, a routine mammogram on her 50th birthday then detected unrelated left-sided breast cancer for which she had surgery again. In 2019, doctors discovered that the cancer had spread to Sandra’s spine and later, to her liver.

Unfortunately, Sandra died in St Catherine’s Hospice shortly after celebrating her 30th wedding anniversary.

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