Racing for life in memory of Joan - a mother to all

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A MUCH-LOVED Willoughby woman who dedicated her life to helping others has inspired her daughter-in-law to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Joan Osborne worked in the NHS for 50 years, starting as a theatre sister.

She was a familiar face on the wards of Rugby’s Hospital of St Cross.

Joan, 72, who lived with her husband, Tony, and had a son, Henry, lost her battle against bowel cancer last year.

Her daughter-in-law Ayshe is taking part in Rugby’s Race for Life for the second year running on July 15.

“Her job totally reflected upon how she was as a person in her day to day life,” said Ayshe, who lives in Rugby.

“She was the most kind, caring and considerate person I knew. She was everyone’s mum and was only happy when she was looking after someone.”

In 2008 Joan received the devastating blow that she had cancer of the bowel.

She had surgery to remove part of her bowel - but her family said nobody would ever have known.

“With her smile so bright and her face so fresh, she was a picture of health after the surgery,” said Ayshe.

“It was from that moment that I knew she was a fighter.”

In 2010 the cancer returned, this time in Joan’s spine, the same time her husband became very sick. After weeks of caring for her husband, he was eventually admitted to hospital.

At this point Joan could barely walk through the pain.

Ayshe said: “She was so tired that she fell asleep whilst on the phone to me.

“Joan never once cried or said how scared she was. She was a fighter till the end.

“Henry and I were at her bedside until she passed away four days later. Joan died peacefully and with dignity, with her son by her side last January.

“One of Joan’s consultants came to see us and he told us that Joan knew a lot more than what she let on to us, she did not want us to worry. He also commended her on what a strong person she was. We were touched.”

Joan’s husband was still in hospital and his son had to break the news to him.

“The grief was unexplainable,” said Ayshe.

“Henry cared for his dad for eight months until he died also last year.

“Joan would have been very proud of Henry, as am I. Joan’s strength and courage is something I will never forget.

“I am doing Race for Life in honour of the bravest person I know and also to raise money for Cancer Research UK to stop this horrible disease taking our loved ones away from us.”

To take part in Rugby’s Race for Life, telephone 0871 641 1111.