By supporting Q Radiothon you will be making a real difference to the lives of families affected by cancer and terminal illness across Northern Ireland. When Bap Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer, his life was turned upside down. Baps widow, Brenda shares their story:
“We met back in 2007 and the rest is history. Bap was one in a million – I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say a bad word about him. There wasn’t a bad bone in his body, he was a very loyal person, very caring and protective. He had good values and was a family man. In his professional life he was a bit wild, he lived a rock and roll lifestyle, but underneath all that, he was just a great man – fabulous son and wonderful step-father to my children.
“Bap was diagnosed on 7th May 2016 and the couple of days before that, he was really in pain. We went to the hospital at 5am and we were sent home, but when the pain didn’t go away, so we went back and that was it. Bap said he had a feeling there was something really wrong, but I didn’t believe him – I was saying, ‘don’t worry, it’s okay’, but then the doctor came over and he said, ‘it is cancer’. Bap became increasingly ill and pain medication was more and more. You are starting as a lay person to deal with really heavy-duty medication – it’s a big responsibility. By mid-August it was the right thing that he went into Marie Curie hospice in Belfast.
Special connection with Marie Curie
“I have a very special connection with Marie Curie going back a long time. My dad died of lung cancer 20 years ago and after that I started volunteering at the hospice. I did refreshments and catering, as well as the reception. I then took on a part time job reception – I loved working there. When Bap was admitted, there were still many of the same faces around and it meant so much that Bap was getting the best specialist care available and that he had the support of the Marie Curie nurses.
“I think the world of them and I was very happy he was going there. As soon as we went in, you just felt in safe hands. You are given your room for as long as you need it and it became our haven in a way. I stayed in the room with Bap the whole time he was in the hospice. It was fantastic that we could be together, as we had never been apart and everyone at Marie Curie understood that and did all they could to make us comfortable. The sheer expertise and kindness shown at the hospice astounded me – it’s a very special place. They treated us like family and nothing was too much trouble.”
“I couldn’t speak highly enough about them. It’s like a team and I’m back in volunteering now because it makes me feel close to him again. I think I’ll always have a special place for them in my heart.
“Bap wasn’t the type of person to show any apprehension or fear, even though his cancer diagnosis was so complex. He also wouldn’t have wanted me to know how much it was affecting him. He was a strong, exceptional person.
“After Baps death, I had counselling through Marie Curie and I’m now volunteering at the hospice again. It makes me feel close to him, being where he spent his final days.
“Last November to mark two years since Bap died, I wanted to do something to remember him. I decided to release an EP as Bap always used to say, ‘Brenda gets things done. I know he would have wanted me to release the EP and it’s something positive to do, a fitting tribute and a way to remember him and our relationship. I’m so pleased with it. It was funded by myself and Baps sister, Marian and we made 500 copies, with all money going to Marie Curie.
“It’s important to me that we give something back for the fantastic care and support that Bap received and fundraisers, like Q Radiothon, are so important to ensure people at the end of life get the best care available.”
By supporting Q Radiothon you’ll be making a real difference to the lives of people, like Bap and Brenda, across Northern Ireland. Q Radiothon is committed to supporting people by raising vital funds to support our fantastic charity partners. If you would like to help us make a difference, you can get involved here.