How 'incredible' MuchLoved page for Leeds woman has spread joy after incurable cancer heartbreak
'Incredible' messages celebrating a Leeds woman who lost her battle with cancer have become a focal point for her loved ones, while also raising thousands for good causes.
With many people unable to pay their respects in person due to Covid restrictions, the MuchLoved page set up for 41-year-old Vicky Peck is now a way for friends and family "share photos, memories and spread joy".
Vicky, who lived in Headingley, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2018 at just 39 years old. She was given the all clear after surgery that was followed by eight months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
Together with husband James, she went back to living a normal, happy and active lifestyle for two years until she began to experience periods of dizziness. After being rushed to A&E, a CT scan revealed that Vicky had secondary breast cancer and multiple tumours had developed on her brain.
Vicky was transferred to the care of doctors at Leeds Cancer Centre, where the aggressive nature of the cancer was revealed by an MRI scan. Tragically, 10 brain tumours had developed on her brain and any further treatment would be palliative.
James, 42, said: “It was a really traumatic time, within the space of a week we’d gone from meeting up with our family and having a laugh on socially-distanced walks, to Vicky being given a terminal diagnosis.”
Soon after, Vicky began her radiotherapy treatment and suffered from awful side affects that meant she was rushed back to A&E and within a space of a week more tumours had developed on her brain. It was clear the treatment was not working.
At the end of last August, the couple - who had been married since 2006 - were told that Vicky had only weeks or even days to live. They took the decision to move Vicky to Wheatfields Hospice, where she spent three weeks before deciding to return home.
Vicky, who had worked for Taylors of Harrogate, defied the odds and fought on for three more months, with James by her side.
While he remembers it as the toughest time of his life, he is so grateful for the support he received.
"I couldn’t believe how much help I was given, especially during the pandemic," he said. "I don’t know how I would have coped without their support; the doctors and nurses calling to check in, the carers, everyone who supported me and Vicky until the end.”
After Vicky died on Christmas Day, James set up a tribute page that has so far raised almost £12,000 for six charities close to their hearts: Cancer Research UK, Sue Ryder, Macmillan Cancer Support, The Joe Strummer Foundation and Leeds Hospitals Charity.
Blown away by the care and kindness that he and Vicky had been shown, James wanted to do whatever he could to give something back and set up a MuchLoved page.
MuchLoved is an online tribute site where people can set up a free memorial page to remember someone special and raise funds for charities in their memory.
James says that Vicky’s tribute page has been a huge part of his healing process over the past couple of months.
“I think the page really captures Vicky as a person," he said. "It’s been an amazing way for everyone who loved her to share photos, memories and spread joy.
"So many people who knew and loved Vicky couldn’t come to her funeral because of Covid-19 restrictions, so the page has been a great focal point for them to pay their respects. There’s been an unbelievable response, I’ve been amazed by everyone’s generosity.”
“I know Vicky’s mum Sheila looks at the page every single day as she loves seeing all of the incredible things people have to say about her daughter, it brightens her day.”
Leeds Hospitals Charity is one of several charities that will benefit from Vicky’s tribute page, in thanks to the NHS workers who cared for her so well during her treatment.
The charity is encouraging those who have recently lost a friend or family member to use the MuchLoved site to celebrate their lives in a positive way and raise funds to support their local NHS hospitals.
As the dedicated charity of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds Hospitals Charity provides an average of £5m each year towards equipment, services, education and research.
With more regular donors, it would be able to do even more to back projects that the NHS does not fund but which have the potential to do so much good for hospital staff and patients.
It is why the Yorkshire Evening Post is asking readers to support the Help Your Hospitals campaign by becoming a friend of the charity and helping to raise an additional £3m during 2021.
Text FRIEND to 70660 to donate £5 a month or visit leedshospitalscharity.org.uk to set up a regular donation for any sum or make a one-off gift to the charity.
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What is Leeds Hospitals Charity?
Leeds Hospitals Charity - previously known as Leeds Cares - is the dedicated charity for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
The charity works closely with the team of more than 18,000 people who work at our local hospitals to support projects that the NHS does not fund, helping to relieve pressure on staff and make a real difference to the experience of patients and their families.
With the support of generous donors, it makes that valuable contribution by raising funds for equipment, services, education and research.
The charity provides support for eight areas which include Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Leeds Cancer Centre, St James’s University Hospital, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Seacroft Hospital, Wharfdale Hospital and Leeds Dental Institute.
It supports NHS staff working at each of those locations to deliver the best care for more than a million patients and their families each year.
Working with local communities, schools and businesses across the city and beyond, it provides an average of £5m in additional funding for the trust each year.