Mum’s dying wish honoured by partner

Originally printed in The Northern Echo June 3, 2011

A MOTHER’S dying wish is being fulfilled by her lifelong partner as he raises money for the hospital which treated her brain tumour.

To keep Michelle Parker’s memory alive, her partner, Darren Watson, has embarked on a fundraising drive for the neuroscience department at The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.

The 42-year-old Darlington mother, known as Shelly, died in December after being diagnosed with a tumour in March 2009.

She spent her final days giving Mr Watson, 40, instructions for her funeral, and what to do when their son gets married.

Mr Watson said: “The care Shelly received at James Cook was unbelievable and the nursing care she had was amazing.

“In her final hours, Shelly made me promise to give something back to the hospital to help others in her situation.”

True to his word, he set up the Michelle Parker Charity with the hope of buying cutting- edge equipment for the neurosurgical theatre.

Ms Parker had an MRI scan at James Cook after suffering a seizure on the way to the hairdressers and was devastated to discover a highly malignant brain tumour that would require surgery.

After her operation, Ms Parker underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy to ensure the tumour did not return, and began thinking about getting her life back to normal But in October last year, the cancer returned and its position made surgery too dangerous.

Mr Watson said: “All the time she went through this, she never shed a tear in front of me. Even when paralysed down one side at my birthday party last year, she insisted on being the host.

“She was such a bubbly person.

She loved holidays, shoes, handbags, clothes, nights out and having a week in Benidorm with the girls, and she was a fantastic mum to Daniel, who is now 22.

“She was very popular.

There were 400 people at her funeral – I have never seen anything like it.”

Mr Watson has already organised golf tournaments, charity auctions and a concert to raise money.

Professor Philip Kane, consultant neurosurgeon at James Cook, said: “All funds raised in Michelle’s name will be donated to the neurosurgery department with the aim of equipping the neurosurgical theatre with additional state-of-the-art equipment to ensure our patients have access to the very best treatments and the very latest technology.

For more information about events, or anyone wishing to donate auction prizes or cash, can contact Mr Watson on 07973-462878.

Cheques made payable to the Michelle Parker Charity can also be sent to Mr Watson, 35 Meadowfield Road, Darlington, DL3 ODU.

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