Fiona and Kirsty sitting in a restaurant

Fiona and Kirsty’s story

On the National Day of Reflection, Fiona speaks about her sister Kirsty who died in 2021, and how fundraising brings her comfort.

Today, 23 March, is the National Day of Reflection. Founded by Marie Curie in 2021, the National Day of Reflection is a chance for us all to remember and honour those we’ve lost.  

Fiona shares how she and her family have remembered her sister Kirsty...


My sister Kirsty

My sister Kirsty was diagnosed with low-grade serous ovarian cancer a few years ago, after a year of going back and forth to the GP. She had persistent bloating and changes in her bowel movements, but these symptoms were put down to early menopause and IBS.     

She had a full hysterectomy and started chemotherapy soon after, and within the year she was fit and well again. Sadly her cancer later recurred, and after further treatment she died in October 2021.    

Initially when Kirsty was diagnosed, I didn’t feel that scared because I didn’t think anything bad would happen to her. She was young and healthy. It didn’t feel real. It never occurred to me that her cancer might be incurable. I deliberately didn’t Google anything – I felt like it would be betraying Kirsty to look into the ‘what ifs’. She was so positive and upbeat, so we were too.    

Our last gift 

When lockdown first started in 2020, Kirsty was undergoing a second round of chemotherapy, and she decided to take part in the 11,000 Steps a Day challenge. She was feeling really unwell at the time, but she would walk and talk to friends on the phone, or she’d walk with her family. The walks gave her a focus, and she had such drive – she was remarkable.   

After Kirsty died, our family wanted to continue her fundraising because it’s our last gift to her. We can’t buy her a birthday or Christmas present, but this is something we can do for her, to honour her. We set up a tribute page where family and friends could donate and write messages. It’s a public expression of our love for Kirsty, and a way to celebrate her. It was phenomenal to see such an outpouring of love, I kept refreshing the page to read new messages and, although it was heartbreaking, I felt so proud of her.    

Making a difference 

None of my family knew anything about ovarian cancer before Kirsty was diagnosed. I had grown up knowing you need to check your breasts for lumps, but ovarian cancer was never on my radar. That’s why it’s so important to me and my family to raise funds and awareness in memory of Kirsty. We can’t change what's happened, but maybe we can help someone else to be diagnosed sooner. It’s a big comfort to know that we’re doing something Kirsty was so passionate about, and helping to make a difference for other families. 


Remember someone special 

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month can be a difficult time if you’ve lost a loved one. Our wall of remembrance gives you a space to take a moment to remember someone dear to you. We hope it provides some small comfort. 

ADD A DEDICATION TO OUR WALL OF REMEMBRANCE

If you’ve been affected by this story and would like to speak to a specialist nurse, you can call our dedicated support line on 020 7923 5475 or contact us: support@targetovariancancer.org.uk. We're open from 9am until 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.