Foyle Hospice Female Walk/Run: 'The staff are angels in uniform'
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Local woman Linda McGinnis will be walking for her father Francis Hanley, who died from cancer ten years ago and also for her mother-in-law Doreen McGinnis who died in Foyle Hospice last year.
Coincidentally, Doreen’s death occurred on June 11 which is the date of the Female Walk/Run this year.
Linda will also be joined by her daughter Eva,12, who is looking forward to walking in memory of her beloved grandparents.
When Doreen was diagnosed with Upper GI Cancer in November 2021, she was told she had only eight weeks to live.
However, Doreen, who was described as a strong and determined lady, surpassed all expectations and lived for another seven months.
“She really was an amazing woman who fought to the end,” Linda recalled.
“She had sudden swelling in her stomach and she had been to A&E a few times.
“After she was the given the news, the doctors initially didn’t think she was well enough for radiotherapy or chemotherapy.”
She continued: “My sister-in-law works within palliative care in Antrim and she advised us to obtain a palliative care referral.
“If it hadn’t been for her, we wouldn’t have been aware of this amazing service.”
Linda recalls Doreen as “very independent” and “strong-willed” who originally worked at the Daintifyt in Limavady before going on to become a childminder for many years, a job which she adored as she was great with kids.
Linda went on to praise the incredible support which Doreen and her family received during her time at Foyle Hospice.
She continued: “From that palliative care diagnosis, we had fantastic support from day one with Lisa from the Hospice providing regular home visits and advice.
“The Hospice nurses liaised with Doreen’s District Nursing Team to advise on medication changes as required.
“They also provided emotional support, making sure her wishes were always central and discussing difficult topics and allaying her fears.
“Doreen was also a coeliac but the chef treated her so well and always asked what she fancied and made it for her - nothing was ever a problem.
“We helped Doreen at home for as long as we could manage – Foyle Hospice was a godsend because it took the responsibility away from us in the last few days so we could spend meaningful time with her.
“We were supported so well and guided throughout the whole process.”
Linda continued: “We had been staying at the Foyle hospice with her for a few nights when I met Mammy Banter last year who was handing out packs for 2022’s run.”
Whilst circumstances didn’t permit Linda to walk last year, she promised herself she would complete it this year.
“You don’t appreciate how fantastic the end-of-life care is until you need it.
“The last week that my mum in law had at home before obtaining a bed, was the most difficult week for us all and I don’t know how we would have got through if we hadn’t been lucky enough for her to get that bed.
“The staff went over and above to make her last days comfortable and the support to the family will never be forgotten.
“We are so very lucky to have this service on our doorstep.
“The staff are angels in uniform!”