Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Leisa's Legacy of Love Seeking Sweeter Send-Off; Fundraising for Better Facilities

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Leisa's Legacy of Love Seeking Sweeter Send-Off; Fundraising for Better Facilities

Article excerpt

Byline: BIANCA HROVAT

EVERY second that ticked by on the clock in Warwick Hospital was a loud reminder of time slipping away for bowel-cancer sufferer and beloved mother of two Leisa Martin.

Her daughter, Teilah McKelvey, resented that clock almost as much as she did the palliative care facilities on the ward.

As family members took turns watching over Mrs Martin's final days, they were struck by how difficult it was to stay close to their loved one through her last moments.

"There's not much space for the family when you're going through that sort of thing," Mrs McKelvey said.

"Physically, it's hard to get near them.

"And it makes the experience harder to go through when there's no private space for the family to process and grieve."

Warwick Hospital staff tried their best to accommodate the family and even went so far as to bring in recliner chairs to the waiting room to help them sleep.

But because Mrs Martin's disease was so fast-moving, options were minimal.

"There's a place in Toowoomba for palliative care but, if change happens quickly, you just can't get there in time," she said.

"Then you're stuck in a dated hospital that's under-resourced.

After Mrs Martin passed in September last year, family members resolved to do whatever they could to ensure nobody else had to suffer through the death of a loved one in those conditions.

"Watching Mum pass away up at the hospital was a hard experience to go through," Mrs MicKelvey said.

"We want to work with Queensland Health to see what we can do."

For two years prior to her hospitalisation, Mrs Martin worked with her daughter on a fundraiser called Nanny's Afternoon Tea that supported Australia's Biggest Afternoon Tea and its cancer research efforts.

Mrs McKelvey promised her mother she would "keep going and do the afternoon tea" after she passed. …

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