After Colin Wilmott lost his wife Gill to breast cancer, he decided to set up a Fund in Memory in her name. The money raised through her fund is helping us make sure that one day, every woman who develops breast cancer will live.
I’ll always remember it - the day Gill was first diagnosed with breast cancer. It was February 2006. We went to the hospital on Friday, and were told we had to go back for the results on Monday. It was the longest weekend of our lives.
We both feared the worst. On that Monday, those fears were realised. Gill was diagnosed with a very aggressive stage four tumour in her breast. By the Thursday, Gill had her first course of chemotherapy.
The drugs helped to shrink the size of tumour, but they made her so sick that after a mastectomy and four gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, we decided to stop treatment so that she could be strong enough to enjoy the little time we had left together.
Gill - a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a grandmother
For Gill, our girls always came first. Gill loved her two daughters, Kate and Rhian, her mum and two sisters and particularly her grandchildren. Our daughter Rhian was due to get married in August, but Gill feared she might not make it.
Rhian and Tom hastily brought the wedding forward to April, and after a break from treatment Gill was well enough to attend. It was a wonderful day, and Gill looked beautiful. It was all the more special because she passed away a few days before the original wedding date – just 18 months after she was first diagnosed.
When Gill died, we had two grandchildren. We now have five. It brings me to tears that Gill missed seeing them grow up, and that they have not had the chance to meet their Nannie Gill.
Why I set up a Fund in Memory
Gill was our rock. We did everything together. She had so many friends and family members who loved her that I knew immediately I had to do something in her name. Something that made sure her memory lived on, so others wouldn’t suffer as she had.
Gill always put family first, so when she passed away we decided – as a family – to fundraise in her name. My four brothers and I walked 98 miles across the West Highland Way, raising £8,000. I’ve since trekked through Peru, Argentina, Nepal and parts of Africa, as well as long distance treks in the UK including the 200 mile coast to coast walk. I’ve also run the London and Dublin Marathons.
Being able to do something positive to help others has been a huge source of strength for our family. It’s helped us come to terms with losing the person who meant everything.
What is a Fund in Memory?
A Fund in Memory is a unique online page designed for anyone who’s lost a loved one to breast cancer. It allows people just like Colin to celebrate a loved one’s life and share stories, treasured memories, photos and messages of support with friends and family.
By starting a fund, you’ll also be raising money for life-saving research so that, one day, no other family will have to face a future without the person they love.
It’s easy to set up a Fund in Memory. Simply visit inmemory.breastcancernow.org or contact us on 0333 20 70 300.