Lauren’s legacy of love
Lauren Murphy was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) when she was just 35 years old. Now, her husband is giving back to the hospital’s nurses.
Last December, 37-year-old Lauren and her husband Antony weren’t sure she would make it to Christmas Day.
Faced with the devastating reality that Lauren’s aggressive cancer had returned and was incurable, they prepared for the possibility she might not be with their family, including their two young children Evangeline (6) and Alfie (4), and Lauren’s parents who came from the UK to help when she was unwell.
It turned out to be a very special, yet challenging, Christmas Day. Lauren passed away one month later, making this the family’s first Christmas without her; she was described as “a kind, selfless, beautiful daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend”.
Since being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) when she was 35, Lauren was treated at Auckland City Hospital. With COVID-19 lockdowns increasingly the norm as Lauren bravely fought the disease, she spent many weeks isolated, in the care of the hospital’s nurses while receiving gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
Despite Lauren, Antony and the Oncology team at Auckland City Hospital doing everything they possibly could to keep her here with her family, as Lauren courageously said in her video diary, “sometimes things are just bad”.
In her life, Lauren was vibrant, brave and strong. Today, she lives on through her two wonderful children and in stories and photos. Lauren also lives on through a fundraiser Antony has set up in her honour – raising money for our Rise scholarship programme, which supports nursing and midwifery students. Supporters like Antony help aspiring nurses and midwives overcome any obstacles they face while studying, ensuring they succeed in completing their degree and fulfil their dream to care for others.
Antony says, “As a tribute to Lauren, we wanted to give back to Auckland City Hospital for all the wonderful and exceptional care we received. Our fundraising target was $30,000 to support 10 nurses and midwives through a year of training. Nurses are the heartbeat of our healthcare system. They care for so many people in their time of need; our eternal gratitude goes out to them. It’s nice to think Lauren will help enable a new pair of feet on each floor of the hospital.”
On meeting some of the nursing students his fundraising supports (above), Antony said, “It is a privilege to be able to do this; my target will be achieved and hopefully beaten.”
Antony has indeed beaten his target, raising a total of $35,467, which will help even more nurses. Antony’s most recent fundraising effort was running the Auckland Marathon (below). He then ran the Queenstown Marathon; a 40th birthday present from Lauren, deferred from last year due to COVID-19. Antony’s fundraising page remains open, allowing others to support our future nurses, and continue honouring Lauren and the countless patients they care for.
“I hope some good will come from this and I would like each and every nurse to know they truly make a difference to those who need it most.”
Antony reflects on the weeks after Lauren’s cancer returned as a “bonus”. Following a terrifying ambulance ride to Auckland City Hospital’s Emergency Department last June, when Lauren’s condition rapidly deteriorated, they were grateful to everyone in the hospital for the extra time and being able to celebrate one more Christmas together.
Lauren touched hearts and minds the world over. “You’d be hard-pressed to find someone with a bad word about Lauren,” Antony says. “The legacy that gets left, I suppose, is love.”
Watch Lauren’s inspiring video diary, a love letter to her children, here.
Top/second-from-top/bottom photo, and video and information credit: Martin, Hannah; Anderson, Ryan. “To my darlings: A mum with cancer’s love letter to her children.” interactives.stuff.co.nz, 5 June 2022.
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