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Family reflections

The death of Lynda Jackson in 1992 at the age of 31 was a tragedy for everyone who knew her. She was a vibrant, lively young lady, deeply committed to her family and loved by her many friends. She inspired them to create a lasting legacy, a tribute to her and the start of a very special movement in cancer care in this country and further afield. Karen Bunt, Lynda's elder sister, talked to 'opendoor', the newsletter of the LJMC.

Soon after Lynda died, we realised that everyone was talking about doing something in her memory. Lynda's husband, Jeff, and my parents, George and Lottie Singer, went to see Professor Dische who had been Lynda's oncologist. Straight away, he suggested they talk with the Cancer Centre Counsellor, Judy Young, who was planning this new service.

Plans seemed a bit vague but, as soon as they heard about it, they realised it was the perfect project. Lynda had become involved in supporting other patients and this new support and information centre reflected her desire to help others.

Members of the original Lynda Jackson Appeal Committee present the first of several cheques to Mount Vernon Cancer CentreWith friends lining up to help, we soon found every spare minute taken up with preparations for fundraising events. I'm sure I spent the next eighteen months or so in the kitchen catering for one event or another. There was always something going on and the diary was full.

I know Lynda would have been the first to organise an event had she still been with us. A few years before she became ill she had organised a very successful charity race night and I think this would probably have been her event of choice.

Friends were very generous and drew on their own networks of contacts to put on some great events. These included previews of top films including 'Sister Act' and 'Forrest Gump' as well as bridge tournaments attended by grand masters and a massive quiz supper.

It was very therapeutic for us all to be kept busy, especially working towards such a worthwhile goal. Lynda was never far from our thoughts and we knew with absolute certainty that we were doing exactly what she would have wanted us to be doing.

There were some hard times too. I was invited back to our old school which had chosen the Lynda Jackson Appeal, as it was then known, as their charity of the year. Addressing an assembly of teenagers, I wanted to tell them all about my special sister in whose memory we were all fundraising.

Members of the Lynda Jackson Appeal Committee at the 20th anniversary celebrationsOf course, this wouldn't have meant much to them as they didn't know Lynda. Instead, I talked about this new building and new service; as this was all uncharted territory, it was difficult to make it resonate with youngsters who I hoped were too young to have been touched by cancer.

It was exciting to be part of something new and, as the LJMC took off and the accolades and awards started to mount up, we all felt immensely proud. Out of our family's adversity had come something unbelievably positive.

Occasionally I meet people who have been treated for cancer at Mount Vernon. Not knowing of my connection with the LJMC, they often mention that they've been to this 'amazing Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre where they received the best care ever."

My heart leaps with pride and I know Lynda has left the best legacy possible.

 

 

Last updated: November 20, 2013

Stephen Jackson cuts the LJMC's 20th anniversary cake

Lynda's son, Stephen, cutting the cake at the 20th anniversary celebrations

 

 

 

 

 

This article first appeared in the Autumn 2013 issue of the LJMC newsletter, Open Door.