Cathy Gilman
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" Life is a gift to be used wisely and lived fiercely"

Cathy Gilman
Posted by
04 Jul 2014

" It's not how long your life is that matters, it's what you do with it that counts". These were the wise words of Tricia Brocklebank yesterday, as she shared photos and talked to me about the death of her daughter Madeleine, aged just 11, in 1993.

I had a poignant, but lovely morning yesterday, when I visited the home of Geoff and Tricia Brocklebank at their home in Sleaford. Geoff is facing his own painful battle with cancer and he thought I was visiting him because of his illness.

In fact I was there to present our "Certificate of Merit" our very special award, given by the Trustees, for outstanding service to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and Geoff's face crumpled with emotion, when he realised the purpose of my visit.

Geoff with the tireless support of his lovely wife Tricia, has been fundraising since his daughter's death, with the support of a wonderful group of local volunteers at the Sleaford Branch.Tricia said "it took me a little bit longer to come to terms with it", such an understatement of the tragedy that this humble couple have dealt with, with such courage.

Geoff had been nominated for the award by our Lutterworth Branch, who in their citation spoke of Geoff's unstinting support for the Midland Region in his role as Regional Chairman. Geoff has also been the Branch Chairman and a Trustee of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research over the years too, raising  £ thousands for our work.

As we walked through their lovely garden, which is planted to attract wildlife just like my own, we reminisced and shared how our gardens are "therapy". They help to bring proportion to challenging times because whatever happens the seasons change, there is death and new life and life really does go on. Even though it may not feel like it at the time.

There is no doubt that this wonderful couple are the living embodiment of our belief "Life is a gift to be used wisely and lived fiercely". 



What an inspirational couple and a wonderful story x


A lovely thing to do to recognise so many years of outstanding service to help us beat blood cancer. As a survivor myself I'm so thankful for people like Geoff as it's thanks to their relentless hardwork and dedication raising funds that I'm still here today. Thanks for sharing Cathy!