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FRIENDS and family who fundraised to save a Lochaber lass who was diagnosed with cancer have marked the anniversary of her death by donating more than £10,000 to help others.
Kelly MacDonald passed away at the age of 29 in September 2015. She only found out she had skin cancer in May of that year but rather than giving in, Kelly organised events to raise money to help fund her treatment. Sadly, Kelly lost her battle with the disease but her efforts were not in vain as events she put in motion raised around £22,000.
Kelly’s mother, Wendy said: ‘It’s good that people remember Kelly. I still cannot get used to her not being here. I would like to thank everybody for their amazing generosity.’
The fundraising started initially with a coffee morning in the salon Kelly owned. This was followed by a garden party with cakes and raffles. But her idea for a sponsored climb up Ben Nevis took the fundraising to another level.
Wendy, who works as a health care assistant at Belford Hospital, said: ‘It was amazing. For instance, a team of four men were sponsored to cycle 40 miles and then run up Ben Nevis carrying their bikes on their shoulders. More than 50 people participated in ‘Kelly’s Klimb’ and that’s where the majority of the money was raised.’
Kelly’s family and friends thought carefully about what to do next, as Wendy explained: ‘We couldn’t use any of the money raised for Kelly’s treatment, as her cancer had quickly spread throughout her body. We decided as the money was raised in Lochaber, it should stay in Lochaber. And we wanted some to be for palliative care because, like Kelly, a lot of people want to stay and be cared for at home.’
As the first anniversary of Kelly’s death approached, her family and friends donated £10,300 to the health board’s Lochaber Community Nursing fund. Aside from palliative care, the family has also given funds to help others and plan to make further donations
Wendy said: ‘We’ve also purchased a ‘cuddle cot’ for the Belford Hospital. We hope it never has to be used but it’s there if it’s needed.’
The MacDonald family also want to raise local awareness about malignant melanoma in Kelly’s memory.
Wendy continued: ‘Due to the wet climate in the Highlands people think they cannot develop skin cancer; it can only take one ray of sunlight for your skin to get damaged, even when the sun is hidden on a dull day your skin can still change colour, which can sometimes lead on to developing cancer. Kelly said that if she’d got better, she wanted to sell her business and educate people about the dangers of not properly protecting your skin.’