Families fundraise for Macmillan in memory of Heather and William
THE families of a Randalstown brother and sister who died from cancer are organising a number of fundraising events for charity in their memory.
Heather McKee (39) and her 44-year-old brother William Beggs both passed away within the past year.
While it has been an extremly traumatic and sad time for their families, they have taken comfort from knowing they were well looked after in their last days at the Macmillan Palliative Care Unit at Antrim Hospital.
And they are now chanelling their grief into fundraising for the unit which provided such excellent care for their loved ones.
William’s wife Norma told the Times: “At first we came to Macmillan in the hope that Willie would gain enough strength from a new pain relief regime for our planned London trip with his two children, Kyle and Megan.
“Understandably hospitals had worrying associations of past bad news and illness so the fact that the Macmillan Unit feels so different made a massive difference to Willie and us all.
“We now know that Willie was to spend his last days in the Macmillan Unit. Simple details made such a big difference to his and our last days.
“A private room that feels like a room at home, not a ward; a pull down bed which meant I could be there all the time, and the knowledge that advice and expert pain relief were only a buzzer away.
“Visiting time is flexible and every detail is centred on the person with cancer, their choices and their quality of life; with caring support for their family and friends.
“When asked about how Heather and Willie were doing, we all expressed our gratitude to the staff in the Macmillan Unit and the fact that there is such a unit.”
The Macmillan Palliative Care Unit in Antrim has touched many lives since its first patient last year.
The design of building, offering 12 private rooms, day rooms and a quiet room for visitors, integral art, curved wall corners; sky lights and coloured walls help establish straight away that this is not just a medical facility.
Alongside the comfort of access to specific medical expertise, the level of care for the patient, from all of the staff has a huge impact on those with cancer, their family and friends.
Norma added: “During the sadness of our loss comes some comfort from knowing that both Heather and Willie were in the best place possible for their last days.”
She added that following Heather and William’s deaths, donations to the unit were requested in lieu of flowers at both funerals.
“Willie had worked and socialised in O’Kane’s Pub, Randalstown and a donation bucket was placed on the bar and a fundraising pub quiz held,” Norma said.
She added: “Altogether in memory of Heather and William, £2,705 has been donated directly to the Macmillan Unit in Antrim, £900 donations for Heather, £795 donations for William and £1,010 raised by O’Kane’s Bar.”
The fundraising continues as Heather and William’s younger brother Jason Beggs along with Simon Adair plan a charity football night in Randalstown, on Friday, May 25.
Local traders have donated generously for the raffle and the Heather and William Beggs Charity Challenge Cup has been created and donated by Alan and Tonia McDonald and will be presented by Alan McDonald on the night to the winning side.
The event kicks off at 6.45pm, with a charity match at Randalstown Playing fields, Neillsbrook, with a BBQ, raffle and music to follow at Randalstown Rugby Club.
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Weather for Antrim
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
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Temperature: 5 C to 8 C
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Wind direction: North west