A 9-YEAR-OLD girl who lost her beloved dad after his three-year battle with brain tumours is to step out in his memory.
Susana Vaughan and mum Sue, 50, are to take part in Nightingale House Hospice’s Midnight Walk in memory of dad and husband, Jeff. The self-employed builder died aged 64, having spent 13 weeks in the Wrexham-based hospice.
This Saturday (June 16th) Sue and Rhosddu Primary School pupil Susana will take part in the Midnight Walk. They have already secured hundreds of pounds in sponsorship for the hospice which continues to support them 11 months after Jeff passed away.
Sue, a Slimming World consultant, said:
“My husband was always a fit and active man, he was up and never down. But, in 2014, Jeff was diagnosed with a brain tumour. We had been back and to to the doctors as he began to feel tired most of the time. One week I took him four times and Jeff was then referred for a brain scan. It was a rollercoaster after that. We went from Wrexham Maelor Hospital to Liverpool’s Walton Hospital and surgeons operated to remove the tumour. We were told it had been removed successfully and Jeff said he thought he’d won the Lottery.”
The family’s good fortune did not last. During a family trip to Spain Jeff felt tired again, something which was put down to the heat. But on returning home, the family discovered the tumour had come back in the same place. Jeff underwent further surgery in Walton and six weeks of radiotherapy at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan. Once again it appeared the tumour had gone.
But the family’s delight was short-lived. In 2016, they received the devastating news that Jeff, who was also dad to Andrew, Richard and Gavin, had five tumours elsewhere in his brain.
“This time the prognosis was not so good,” explained Sue. “Jeff underwent gruelling chemotherapy but then doctors said there wasn’t anything else they could do. From being normally quite exuberant Jeff became very quiet. We live just seven minutes away from the hospice so, to help, I suggested he went in for their Monday drop-in sessions. To begin with, Jeff walked there himself and later I pushed him in a wheelchair.”
In April 2017, Jeff’s condition deteriorated. The hospice offered him a bed whilst his medication was adjusted. Jeff remained there for 13 weeks before passing away.
“Throughout Jeff’s time at the hospice, the staff did everything and more to look after not just him but us, too. Susana would come after school, the hospice would give her tea, she’d play in the gardens and spend time with her daddy. Since Jeff died, we’ve both been continually supported by the hospice.
“We have had 1:1 counselling, I now attend the bereavement group and Susana goes to the weekly music therapy session which gives her a place where she feels comfortable to talk about her dad. We take one day a time, but the hospice and staff have been superb. That’s why we want to do this year’s Midnight Walk, to give something back for all they have given, and still give, to us.”
Amanda Kinsey, the hospice’s Area Fundraiser/ Event Organiser, said the support from people such as Sue and Susana helped the hospice with its work.
“People often think hospice support stops after the death of a loved one but that’s not the case. We work with many people to help them through very difficult times in their lives and we’re so grateful that Sue and Susana are prepared to help us fundraise so soon after Jeff’s death, so we can continue to help them and other families who sadly find themselves in similar situations,” she added.
The Midnight Walk will be held on Saturday with 6k and 10k walks at Wrexham’s Llwyn Isaf. Normally a ladies-only night, this year the event is open to everyone aged eight upwards.
To book for the walk visit www.nightingalehouse.co.uk/events or call the hospice Fundraising Office on 01978 314292. Online registration is £15 per person and is open until June 12th. Walk bookings can also be made on the night itself and cost £30 per person.