The launch of the Fiona Fund
My landscape right now is littered with milestones. They are all marked in years, rather than miles, and they bear the number ‘1’. Each one is a reminder of a year past without my wife and best friend by my side. I miss her more than I can say, and her absence is felt keenly every single day.
In years gone by, we would often walk together by the sea – and Fiona loved nothing more than to gaze at its rolling waves and its ever changing landscape. We always appreciated those who had donated benches in memory of a loved one, as they allowed us to enjoy the view. She was adamant, though, that she did not want to be remembered in such a way. ‘I don’t want people sitting on me’.
Bearing that in mind, we have found a more enduring way to remember her. Throughout her working life, Fiona was an information professional. A friend described her as someone ‘who dedicated her life to empowering others to be the best that they could be’. This was never more true than when working as a healthcare librarian at St George’s University Library. In her last years, when hospital visits became both more frequent and more intrusive, it would give her the most tremendous lift to encounter some of ‘her’ students, who had passed through her hands whilst studying for their profession. Training and knowledge were as much weapons against cancer as hypodermics and scalpels, so far as Fiona was concerned. Remembering this, the Fiona Fund was born.
Each year the Fund will make the Fiona Littledale Award in association with the Patient Experience Network to an oncology nurse who has already demonstrated their personal commitment to developing their skills and understanding of the field. The award will make it possible for them to attend further training by covering the costs associated with it. Just like Fiona herself, this will encourage those who are already prepared to go the extra mile by offering to shoulder some of the burden. Each year the recipient will write a blog post on their training experience, and will be offered the opportunity to host the Fiona Fund Twitter account.
After many months of investigation and preparation, the fund is now open for donations. If you click on the Fiona Fund logo below, it will take you straight to a page where you can join in.
I shall continue to sit on benches by the sea, and every time I do so I shall remember sharing them with my ‘bravest and best’. Meanwhile, the fund established in her name will be making a difference to oncology professionals, and those who benefit from their skills.