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 Aundrea was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 42, her family and friends lives changed forever. This is Aundrea’s best friend, Claire’s story:
“Aundrea and I had been best friends for 17 years. She was my person. She had such a zest for life and we were so different but got on so well. “She first started to feel unwell in May 2016 when she was on holiday, she had pains in her back and knew something wasn’t right.
She took herself to A&E when she got back and was told it was kidney stones. She went back and forth for further consultations and on 11th July 2016 she was diagnosed with cancer. “When she was diagnosed, it was a path I didn’t think we’d ever walk.”
“I’ll deal with anything as long as it’s not terminal”
“After the diagnosis I remember her saying, “Ill deal with anything as long as it’s not terminal”. Unfortunately, when the tests came back it showed it was pancreatic cancer with some lesions on the liver and she was told to “go home and make memories”. I never thought I’d be discussing funeral arrangements with my best friend at 42 years old.
“Aundrea had been through the cancer journey before as her son James was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just two and a half years old. He had been through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, so Aundrea knew what treatment would involve, but giving up wasn’t an option for her. As well as James, she also has an older son Jack and was determined to fight the cancer for them.
“When was told she had 12-15 months with treatment, she started chemotherapy straight away. She knew there wouldn’t be a cure, but just wanted more time. Unfortunately, the chemo hit her hard and it didn’t follow a smooth path. “After accepting that treatment was no longer an option, Aundrea went for an induction day at Marie Curie.
To be completely honest, when we all first thought about the hospice it filled us with shear fear, however this completely changed when we stepped foot in the building. I was taken aback by the serene calmness. It was like having another family, everyone genuinely cared. If Aundrea hadn’t got a bed in the hospice, she would have been in intensive care, so we all felt very lucky.
Making precious memories
“I have never seen such compassion of care given than I did at Marie Curie. It gave us time as family and friends to enjoy special moments with Aundrea. It was also a nicer environment for her two boys to visit, just to be able to sit together, watch tv, have the time and space. We made many precious memories at the hospice and actually had good laughs.”
“Aundrea passed away at the hospice on August 16th 2017, but we felt at the hospice there was at least dignity in death. I never thought I would watch my best friend go so young and leave a young family behind, but the support the family were given was incredible. The fear was taken away, but unfortunately nothing can take the heartache away and the grief.
“There is a massive void now that can never be filled. We are all going through a journey of grief, but I know if Aundrea was here now she would be advocating for Marie Curie. Everyone deserves that level of care and support and it’s only through people’s donations that this can happen.”
Q Radiothon is committed to supporting people just like Aundrea and Claire by raising vital funds to support our fantastic charity partners. If you would like to help us make a difference, you can take part in our Big Brunch, hold your own event or make a donation.