This weekend (7th-10th August) we were honoured to be able to answer a Dream for a very Inspirational lady.
Marie Caygill is a 46 year old Doncaster woman who is currently suffering with terminal secondary breast Cancer in the lung. It was her Dream to spend a final family holiday all together, something they’d not done for almost 15 years and never with the grandchildren. The reason Marie is inspirational is, she hasn’t let her condition beat her!! Not only that, she’s taken her experiences and inner determination to make change for other people battling the same horrible disease. She’s turned that fight into something lasting, “The Doncaster Cancer Support Drop In Centre”. Marie has brought together the town’s charities and support groups under one roof, to provide support and information to Cancer patients who are trying to cope emotionally as well as physically and financially. What Marie has down, whilst suffering herself, will be a benefit for many future Cancer patients for years to come.
Together with the fantastic support of the people at One Call Insurance, we were able to give something back to somebody that truly deserves a Dream to remember xxx
Marie’s Story (in her own words)
My names Marie Caygill I’m 46 and a mum of 3, a son 27, a daughter 25 and a son 14. I am Nanna to 3 grandchildren and 3 step grandchildren who I adore with all my heart.
I was diagnosed in Nov 2013 with grade 3 breast cancer that had spread to the auxiliary lymph nodes. At the time I was a workaholic self-employed hairdresser, a fitness freak and an obsessive Nanna. The diagnosis sent me reeling. I was given an aggressive treatment plan that included 3 lots of surgery, an aggressive chemotherapy that left me with periphial neuropathy and radiotherapy. The treatments were gruelling and have left me with some awful side effects such as the neuropathy and lymphedema. Not only did it change me physically but mentally too. I’ve gone from a vibrant young woman who loved nothing more than rolling around the garden, playing hide and seek, tiggy off the ground with my grandchildren to hobbling around like an old woman, in constant pain and struggling to breath.
My self-esteem also took a nose dive. I’ve always took pride in my appearance especially because of my job, but here I was 2 stone heavier, no hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes and skin that was greyer than the sky on a winters day. I no longer recognised the person that stared back at me in the mirror and nor did I like her. My grandchildren were frightened of me, I lost friends and family that I guess just couldn’t cope with what was happening. But along the way I also met some wonderful, inspiring people who were going through the same as me.
I never recovered from my treatment, I remained short of breath and a year later this Feb 2015, after battling with the oncologists as to why I wasn’t getting better, they decided to act and I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer In the lung. I have struggled with how poor the services and support are for Cancer patients. I have had to fight my way through trying to find information on how to cope financially, physically, practically and emotionally. This seems to be a common theme among Cancer patients who realistically should be concentrating on getting better. I’m dying now and still I am fighting for this support. I have not been offered any throughout my treatment. We watch TV advertisements about how much money the big charities raise and how because of this nobody will die in pain, nobody will die alone. The reality is there are hundreds of people dying alone and I can tell you from first-hand experience I have had to BEG for pain relief!
I’ve recently set up a drop in centre for people like me so they don’t have to fight their way through this. I’ve brought together under 1 roof all the appropriate and relevant agencies so that people like me can concentrate on getting better or spending their precious time doing the things they love with the people they love instead of fighting their way through the crap.
The worse thing for me is not dying as I know we all have to die, it’s the thought of all the things I will miss. I live for my family, they are what makes me tick, I can’t imagine not being there to watch them marry, see my youngest at his school prom, go through university, hold his first child. To know that one day my grandchildren will burst through my door with excitement like they always do shouting where’s Nanna, only to find an empty chair, makes my heart ache so much I feel It could just stop beating any second. But this is now my fate and I have to face it with as much strength and dignity as I possibly can and concentrate on all the great things I have done and experienced in my life that many others don’t get to do.
I met Claire Graham of The Eve Merton Dreams Trust at the Cancer Drop In Centre where she was representing the charity and offering support. She asked me if there was anything I would like to do before this disease took any more of a hold on me. I said I would LOVE to have a short break with all my children and grandchildren as well as my mum and dad, 4 generations of my family.
It’s 13 years since me and my 3 children were on holiday together and I’ve never been on holiday with my grandchildren. I explained I knew this wouldn’t be easy and I didn’t want to put them out, so as an alternative I’d very much like to have a photo of us all together, as for some crazy reason I don’t seem to have one.
Anyway I couldn’t believe it, the charity booked the whole family into lodges at Centre Parks this weekend just gone and arranged a photo-shoot for us all, PLUS spending money for activities! I was amazed and overwhelmed and so happy. We’ve had the best time ever. We’ve laughed, cried, laughed some more. It’s given us the opportunity to bring the family even closer, it’s given us an opportunity to talk in a relaxed environment about what we’re all facing and how we will face it together, it’s made us look at how much time we spend on trivial day to day stuff. We’ve built memories that we hope will last a lifetime. When the weekend was coming to an end we asked the kids what they thought was the best part of the holiday, thinking that they would reel off the list of activities, but instead they said spending time with the family all together. In our busy lives we so under estimate the importance of time and family. This weekend has meant everything to me. I have absorbed every laugh, smile, frown, sight, smell, hug and they’ve been locked in my heart forever to treasure. The Eve Merton Dreams Trust will never know how much this has meant to me and my family and I will never be able to thank them enough.
A message from the Charity
We hope everybody reads this story and takes it upon themselves to look out for and support The Doncaster Cancer Support Drop in Centre. The work Marie is doing is fantastic and the honour was truly ours to be able to help, if only for that brief period of time.
In turn we must say a HUGE thank you to the people at One Call Insurance. Without their support with this Dream we could not have made it possible. Their efforts and fundraising have brought a family to a whole family, that is priceless.
Thank You x