Breast cancer survivor, Karen Holloway and her daughter Gemma Hewitt are both devoted to Marie Curie.
Karen is recovering from breast cancer and volunteers for the charity. Following her mum's diagnosis, Gemma applied for a job with the charity in 2016.
Gemma was appointed the Marie Curie Community Fundraiser and has now worked in the charity sector for over seven years.
She has also fundraised and volunteered in her free time for many other charities and organisations, including Martin House Hospice, Great Ormond Street and Macmillan Cancer Support and Oxfam, by arranging charity music events and a masquerade ball, raising over £20,000.
In Karen’s own words her daughter ‘lives and breathes Marie Curie’.
The mother-and-daughter duo have now pledged to help smash last year’s total of £231,000 raised during the annual March Great Daffodil Appeal.
The appeal is Marie Curie's biggest annual fundraising campaign. Every March, millions of people across the UK support this fundraising event by giving a small donation to wear a daffodil pin.
South Yorkshire mum Karen, who is a receptionist at a doctor's surgery, received the devastating news that she had grade two aggressive breast cancer on Christmas Eve three yeas ago.
She said: “It’s a Christmas I will never forget. Ten years ago, I had a succession of cysts on my breasts that, with treatment, cleared up so when I received a recall letter, to attend on Christmas Eve following a routine mammogram I wasn’t unduly concerned.
“I remember that afternoon vividly. When I mentioned to colleagues and the doctors about the letter alarm bells began to ring when I saw the look on their faces, which was crystallised when the doctor delivered his crushing diagnosis.
“My husband and I took the heart wrenching decision to tell our children that day – what a Christmas gift.
“I had my first lumpectomy on January 19 and, three weeks later, was devastated to be told that I required further surgery. Fifteen rounds of gruelling radiotherapy followed at Weston Park Hospital, where I benefitted from the exceptional nurses care. I’m relieved that I’m now three years into remission.
“When my daughter, Gemma, was appointed Marie Curie Fundraiser it inspired me to volunteer for the charity as my way of putting something back into the community following my own personal battle.
“Working in a GP’s surgery, I witness first-hand the devastating impact terminal illness has on people and their families so have great empathy. It touches the lives of so many and I’m blessed and more fortunate than many others to be here to tell my story.”
Gemma’s role as Marie Curie Community Fundraiser involves developing fundraising relationships in the community and supporting a network of groups and volunteers in their quest to raise vital funds for the charity.
She said: “I joined Marie Curie shortly after mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew about the charity’s amazing work and have
always had great respect for its palliative care, support and research.
“Mum’s diagnosis changed the dynamics of our family so I have a degree of understanding about the devastating impact terminal illness can have.
“It gives me immense satisfaction that through my work I am making a difference to the provision of end of life care across Yorkshire.
For information on how to get involved in the Great Daffodil Appeal, call Gemma Hewitt on 01904 755260.