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Tess O'Rourke

Tess to swim one mile for Weldmar Hospicecare

12th June 2021


Fundraising News Personal Stories

Tess discovered a love of walking while traveling abroad in her twenties. Back at home, it became a hobby and a passion that she has continued throughout her life.

In November 2018, Tess was diagnosed with ‘treatable but not curable’ endometrial cancer. After major surgery and chemotherapy, she was keen to set herself a challenge. In 2019, Tess did a sponsored walk for charity, training to make sure she was ready for the task. Around the same time, she was told there were no further active treatments available to her. However, at her scans over the following few months Tess was told there was virtually no change to her condition, something that she puts down to her active lifestyle.

Tess says ‘Walking was my thing, but I still enjoyed swimming while I was working to keep fit.’

In July 2020, Tess’s condition deteriorated; she was in a lot of pain. Tess was assigned a Weldmar Community Nurse, Emma Randall, who supported Tess through her palliative radiotherapy treatment.

Tess says ‘Emma just changed everything and took control of it. Once the pain was manageable I had a quality of life again.’

As a busy, active person, Tess has decided to set herself a challenge to give something back to Weldmar for all of the support she’s had and continues to receive. She’s had appointments with palliative care Doctors for pain management, speaks regularly to a volunteer counsellor, and will start complementary therapy treatments soon. Recently, Tess has been undergoing immunotherapy treatment. After the first treatment she suffered from a bad reaction, and so a decision about whether to continue with the treatment is yet to be made.

Talking about the challenge, Tess says ‘Though walking was my thing, when I developed Lymphedema in my right leg, I had to rethink what I did. It was absolutely devastating but I was inspired by Paralympians. They accept what’s happened and make the best of it. Swimming has been amazing for me.’

‘I’ll be swimming one mile, alternating between front crawl or backstroke, using only my upper body. I feel excited by this challenge, it’s given me a focus.’

‘I’ve chosen 2nd July as it’s a year to the day from when Weldmar began to support me.’

She aims to raise £1,800; a tenth of the amount that Weldmar needs to raise each day to be able to continue to provide our services in south, west, and north Dorset.

Tess said ‘Everyone at Weldmar gives you time, that’s what I’ve felt. There is always someone there for us and that makes all things bearable.’

Everyone at Weldmar wishes Tess the very best of luck with her challenge.

Visit Tess’s Justgiving page here


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