Local Woman’s Touching Gesture for a Friend in Need

Jacqueline Sewell (left) with colleagues

A Whitehaven woman’s kind gesture and the story behind it has touched the hearts of the local community.

Having received the all clear from breast cancer in only December last year, Wendy Kirkbride thought the nightmare was over. But the good news was short lived after an MRI scan revealed she has a tumour in her pancreas. Wendy now needs to travel to London where she will undergo extensive surgery to remove the tumour and will need a considerable period of rehabilitation afterwards.

However, despite having been a nurse for 28 years, Wendy isn’t entitled to anymore paid sick leave or benefits from the NHS. Knowing that this would have a detrimental effect on her recovery Wendy’s friends encouraged her to set up a crowdfunding campaign.

Wendy Kirkbride

A former Sister on the Intensive Care Unit at the West Cumberland Infirmary, Jacqueline Sewell – now semi-retired – worked alongside Wendy for most of their nursing careers. On hearing the devastating news that her friend and colleague had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time, Jacqueline immediately wondered what she could do to help.

On 8 February Jacqueline shared a post on Facebook asking people if they needed any “odd jobs” done. She was offering to “walk dogs, clean houses or do any DIY in the house for £10 per hour, or any donation” with all proceeds going to Wendy’s campaign.

The response took her by surprise, with hundreds of people offering their support, Jacqueline said: “I was absolutely overwhelmed with the response, a lot of people have just given without even wanting me to do any work. I’ve done some gardening for somebody and I’ve got a cleaning job booked, it’s really lovely.

“I think people in the North West especially, when the chips are down they always come up trumps.”

A Just Giving page set up for Wendy has so far raised over £3,000. It will go towards covering the costs of travel to London and accommodation to enable her daughter to stay close by while she is in hospital, as well allowing her to recover at her own pace without any financial pressure.  

“Wendy sent me a text saying thank you so much, she was a bit overwhelmed,” Jacqueline explained. “It’s the least we can do, we all love her and we just want to help. In a time like this everyone just wants to help in the best way they can.”

She added: “And I don’t know, but it might be making (Wendy) feel a bit more positive knowing that everybody is thinking about her.”

Jacqueline is happy for people to get in touch if they have any odd jobs and instead of cash, asks that they donate to the Just Giving page.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wendy-kirkbride

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