A terminal cancer diagnosis is one of the worst things you can be told, but one Chatteris woman is not letting that stop her.
Despite being told by doctors that she has less than a year to live, Jackie Read is planning to jump out of a plane in May to raise money for Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Addenbrooke’s is where Jackie (59) has been receiving treatment for ovarian and peritoneal (stomach) cancer since January last year, when she was first diagnosed. She also worked in the hospital as a theatre support worker.
After extensive chemotherapy and surgery, as well as complications including a deep vein thrombosis and a blood clot on the lung, Jackie was declared cancer-free in October.
But just a couple of weeks later, while on a celebratory cruise in the Western Mediterranean, she started to get symptoms again and knew that the cancer had returned. Back home, doctors confirmed the news and told her that this time, it was terminal.
Jackie said: “This was not a shock but the speed of the return and the shortness of time left to me was.”
Her husband Robert, who is pastor at Chatteris Community Church, has been by Jackie’s side throughout everything. He drives her everywhere and stays throughout long chemo sessions.
“He is a tremendous support to me and I don’t know how I could manage without him,” Jackie said.
The skydive came about after Jackie’s daughter Yvonne made a tandem skydive in the past and Jackie said that if she ever did another one, she would like to take part. Taking her at her word, Yvonne said over Christmas that she was planning another skydive if her mum was still interested. Jackie spoke to her oncologist and was given the thumbs-up.
There are now nine people taking part, with all the money raised going to the Oncology unit.
“I want the money to go to the patient comfort fund,” Jackie said. “When I’m there, I see all the families and I want to do something for them. Addenbrooke’s is raising money to build a new unit but this money is going to be used there and then, not years down the line.”
Jackie and Robert will be jumping, as will Yvonne and her fiancé Marcus, Jackie’s brother Ken, his son Richard and his former wife Jan, and friends Lorraine and Phil.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/jackie-read1 or text JRMY 75 followed by the amount £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070. They have already raised £445 and Jackie is hoping they can hit £1,000.