Life is a gift to be used wisely and lived fiercely.
There are some people that you meet in life who absolutely have living life to the full written in their DNA, for me undoubtedly one of those people was Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research supporter and co-founder (along with her husband John) of our Richmond and Twickenham Branch, Pat Barrington. Pat and John lived, breathed and exuded our belief that life is a gift to be us used wisely and lived fiercely.
John and Pat set up the Branch in 1971 shortly after their son, Paul, tragically died from leukaemia. At the time survival from childhood leukaemia was around 30%. Although I have been with LLR for over 13 years, I will never cease to be in awe of people like John and Pat, who having faced probably the worst tragedy that life can offer, go on to face their demons on a daily basis with such devotion and determination and an absolute conviction that others will not suffer in the same way.
Today we said goodbye to Pat in a touching funeral mass at St Mary Magdalene Church in Mortlake, which was packed with people whose lives Pat had touched. From our Branch members to the local school that Pat had supported for many years, we were there to share our sadness for the loss of a wonderful friend, and truly to give thanks for a life well-lived and for the pleasure that she brought to our lives.
For me there was both pride and comfort in knowing that she was able to celebrate the Branch reaching the £2 million milestone in 2011 and I know that she thoroughly enjoyed our Impact Day on April 13th (even if she didn’t quite agree with the change from Conference!) where she was delighted to see Tariq Enver speak about why now is such an exciting time for our research and for patients. She was so proud of his lab dedicated to John’s memory at UCL, which we were planning to visit again in July.
Pat was a clever, funny and sometimes rather naughty. Ever the loyal friend, she was the very best company to share a gin and tonic with and she will be missed by us all, especially the Branch who benefited from her tireless determination for so many years.
I feel privileged to have had her in my life, if all too briefly, but my friendships with her lovely family will most certainly continue whilst her legacy lives on in the thousands of lives that she and John helped to save. I’m sure they are jiving on a cloud together as we speak, delighted that we enjoyed saying goodbye to her very much and for the very best reasons.
Pat with me and David Grant at the opening of the John Barrington centre
Pat and family