Cancer-stricken woman from Gosport overwhelmed by donations to send her on dream trip to Maldives
BATTLING a terminal cancer diagnosis, a woman from Gosport has been overwhelmed by hundreds of donations from the community for her ‘once-in-a-life-time’ trip to the Maldives.
Tina O’Brien, who grew up in Alverstoke and now lives in Bognor Regis, was originally diagnosed with primary breast cancer 11 years ago.
This April, the 51-year-old was told that the cancer had spread to four different places in her spinal cord, leaving her with only 18 months to live.
Now her family are close to giving Tina a holiday she has always dreamed of, with her children, Emma-Louise Blisset and Dan Homer, raising more than £5,200 to send their mother and her partner to the Maldives
The surprise fundraiser – with hundreds of donations from friends, family, and well-wishers across the region – reduced Tina to tears.
The Rose Green resident said: ‘You wouldn’t believe what it means to me.
‘I didn’t realise I was so well liked as a person. I am so overwhelmed by people’s generosity.
‘When I saw how much had been raised, I couldn’t stop crying.’
Tina is hoping to jet off with her partner of 23 years, Paula Marchant, originally from Leigh Park, who says the couple have not been able to enjoy a holiday together for nearly their entire relationship.
She added: ‘She nursed mum when she was dying of cancer. She has done so much, and it doesn’t seem fair what she’s going through. She has to have some time for herself.’
Tina’s daughter Emma says the trip is about more than just making valuable memories, it’s about saying ‘thank you’ for a lifetime of love and care.
She said: ‘There’s always been someone she’s had to look after, whether it be my Nan, my auntie or my uncle.
‘Two years ago, we lost all three in the same year, three months apart from each other. So she’s had to deal with that and now she’s looking after my grandad, which is obviously getting more difficult.’
The family are racing to raise the remaining £3,000 to reach their £8,000 goal, as well as watching to see when the Maldives will be placed on the government’s travel ‘green list’ – but they have a back-up plan if circumstances scupper the holiday.
Emma said: ‘(Tina) is a massive Liverpool supporter but she’s never been to Anfield, so I think that would be the next step if things don’t quite workout.’
Regardless of the outcome, Tina has been left deeply touched by the community’s support.
She said: ‘I can’t thank everyone enough.’