My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Daughter joins Light up the Night campaign in memory of late mum

Pictured: Sharon and Jessie

A bereaved daughter, training to be a nurse in memory of her late mum, joined Marie’s Light up the Night campaign to turn the shortest day into the brightest night to remember loved ones lost.

Sharon Marks was just 51 when she sadly died at home in Barry on December 7 2020, following a terminal diagnosis of cancer of the lymph nodes just 2 weeks earlier.  Her daughter, Jessie, supported her step-dad Kevin Tucker to care for her mother in the final weeks – but praised Marie Curie for their support in allowing her mum to be at home.

On Tuesday, December 21,  a lantern in Sharon’s memory was among dozens lit at the charity’s Cardiff and the Vale Hospice as part of their festive fundraiser, which called on people and businesses pledge £100 to dedicate a lantern in memory, to raise money and light up the festive season for local families affected by terminal illness. Each person taking part also received a lantern of their own to display at home.

Mum-of-one Jessie, who is now training to become a nurse having worked as a healthcare support worker for a number of years, said: “I’ve worked in caring for years and years, and my mum always told me to go and be a nurse, but I always thought it was too much hassle, I had a little boy and didn’t think I had the time to do it.

“But because Marie Curie came in for those 2 weeks and only a couple of times, but they had such an impact. My mum was always very stubborn, if she didn’t want to do something, she was not doing it.  But they were so understanding, Alison and the doctor, they were so lovely and put it to her like she was a family member, and so they really helped, my mum said they made her feel comfortable for those 2 weeks.

“I knew my little boy wouldn’t be long going to school, so I have started an Open University course and done my first year to study to be a nurse and starting at Cardiff University in January.  I don’t want to be just a nurse I want to be Marie Curie Nurse.   I should have done it years ago, but this gave me the push.”

Jessie also praised the continued support she has received since her mum’s death, with regular calls for bereavement support.

Speaking about Sharon, she said her mum – who worked 3 jobs for over a decade – was always the “life and soul of the party”, but never knew how popular she was.

Her mum’s birthday was November 18, and to mark the first birthday since her death, Jessie organised a “Nanny’s Day” in her memory to celebrate her life, and to help son Finley, 2, remember her: “Because we couldn’t have a normal funeral last December, we wanted to do this, especially for my little boy.  We’ve raised around £2100 so far and we’re going to make it an annual event.  We’re also hoping to organise a walk in her memory in the summer.”

Jessie said she was pleased to be able to mark the occasion in memory of her mother a year on – and during her favourite time of year.

“She loved Christmas, her tree was always amazing.  It’s something I will try to continue for my little boy in her memory.”

Hannah Leckie, Fundraising Integration Lead at Marie Curie Wales, said: “It was an honour to put out the lanterns for loved ones, and we even had a Robin visit us while we were putting them in place.

“We know Christmas can be a difficult time for those who are bereaved, living with a terminal illness or caring for a loved one at the end of life, and by taking part in Light Up the Night, people are helping us continue to be there for everyone who will need us now and in the future. Thank you.”