Volunteer inspired to support charity following mum’s terminal diagnosis

It was shortly after Jane Marshall’s mum was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2014 that she decided to start supporting Marie Curie. At over eight months pregnant Jane headed out to take part in her first collection for the Great Daffodil Appeal – Marie Curie’s biggest fundraising campaign, held every March.

Six years on, Jane from Stoke Gifford, is Chair of the Marie Curie Five Stokes Fundraising Group and volunteering has become a family affair with her husband and daughters Poppy (13), Daisy (11) and Olivia (4) often helping with charity collections and events.

Jane is sharing her story in the hope it will inspire more people in Bristol and beyond to join her and her family in supporting the charity this March.

Jane said: “Mum was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in January 2014. She first had breast cancer in 1997 and again in 2006, both times it was treated, and she was given the all clear, but in 2014 it had spread to the lungs by the time it was discovered. It may have been a moment of madness to start volunteering at just over eight months pregnant, but I suddenly felt compelled to support a charity that helps people with terminal illnesses – who we may well need ourselves one day. I’ve always admired the work Marie Curie do, so I got in touch with the local team and signed up for a two-hour street collection, giving out daffodil badges in return for donations – and I’ve been supporting them ever since. I started because of mum, and I continue in her memory.

“Mum moved in with us when her cancer started to progress in 2017. Later that year she was admitted to hospital to have calcium levels treated with a view to come home afterwards. Sadly, after discussions with the Palliative care team at the hospital we realised mum didn’t have long and with my young children at home it might not have been the best option. The morning of 28 October 2017, I held her hand as she died.

“When you collect for Marie Curie in public, at a supermarket or street collection, people often share stories with you about how Marie Curie cared for one of their loved ones. I have heard of the professionalism and expertise of the teams, 3am cups of tea and how the comfort the nurses bring not only to the patient but to their family means everything at such a difficult time.

“Looking back, if we had managed to get mum home, we would have really needed the support of people like the Marie Curie Nurses. The care and support they provide can only continue with public support, so I really would encourage anyone considering volunteering to get in touch.”

Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal is now officially underway, however, the fundraising team in Bristol and the surrounding areas are urgently calling for extra volunteers to lend a couple of hours to help them with supermarket collections due to take place throughout March.

Helen Isbell, Marie Curie Community Fundraiser for Bristol, said: “This year we are struggling to find enough volunteers to help with our supermarket collections for the Great Daffodil Appeal. We have collections throughout the whole month, so it’s not too late to get involved.  Especially urgent is next week, from Monday 9th March to Sunday 15th March, when we have an entire week of collections.

“Collecting can be a lot of fun, you can do it on your own or with a friend and it’s a great way to give back to your local community, helping fund Maire Curie Nurses across Bristol.  We only ask our volunteers to do two-hour shifts, and you can sign up for just the one or as many as you’d like. Volunteers give out our iconic daffodil pins in return for donations. I would urge anyone who can spare a couple of hours to please get in touch.”

Money raised from the Great Daffodil Appeal will help Marie Curie Nurses in Bristol and throughout the UK provide much-needed expert care to people with terminal illnesses, as well as support for their loved ones.

How to sign up?

To volunteer for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal and give out the charity’s daffodils pins in return for donations, please visit mariecurie.org.uk/collect or contact Helen on [email protected] or 0117 9247 275.

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