Daughters’ legacy of love after Sunderland mum dies from brain tumour

Lorna Atkinson, centre, with daughters Louise and Lisa
Lorna Atkinson, centre, with daughters Louise and Lisa
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Daughters devastated after their mum died from a brain tumour are honouring her memory by reaching out to other patients.

Lisa Atkinson and Louise Bircham supported mum Lorna Atkinson, from East Herrington, through an 18-month battle with the disease.

Lorna with grandchildren Cameron, Adam and Jessica

Lorna with grandchildren Cameron, Adam and Jessica

A fundraiser they had planned with her will now also serve as a memorial to the mum-of-two, 69, after she lost her fight last Friday.

The sisters will host a park run where runners will be asked to wear green, Lorna’s favourite colour and colour of her Emerald engagement ring, and help raise funds for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

Lisa, 34, said: “Mam was a fighter until the end. We were so close to her and wanted to do something to honour her. We’d actually started to plan the event before she died, but now it will have even more meaning.

“She was a very popular character and the support we’ve had since her death has been amazing.”

Lorna and her daughters

Lorna and her daughters

Lorna, who had formerly worked at Usworth Comprehensive, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in September 2014. Her treatment included a craniotomy procedure to remove part of the tumour, as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy to try and reduce the remaining cancer.

But the cancer came back just before Christmas last year and doctors broke the news that the mum’s illness was terminal.

Lisa, who works for Speedflex fitness company, said: “Mam didn’t really have any symptoms. We thought she’d had a stroke as she’d become really forgetful and kept repeating herself. She would forget words for the simplest of things, like her handbag. We thought maybe it could have been stress because she had just moved home.

“But when she went to the doctors they made the diagnosis.”

The Lorn's Legacy

The Lorn's Legacy

Lisa and Louise, 36, who is mum to Cameron, 11, Adam, seven and Jessica, three, cared for Lorna at home for as long as they could, often taking her for trips out and afternoon tea. She also spent precious time with her partner of four years Harry Coundon.

But the week before her death, she was so frail doctors admitted her to Sunderland Royal Hospital where she passed away.

Though nothing could be done to cure Lorna, who was married to David for 40 years until his death from heart failure in 2009, the sisters hope funds raised can help research into the condition.

The Park Run will take place at Saltwell Park, Gateshead, at 9am on April 16. It will feature a 5K run around the park, before a fundraising morning at the Saltwell Park Towers cafe.

The morning will feature a raffle with a host of prizes including tickets to see Riverdance at Metro Radio Arena, prizes donated by Seaham Hall and Alnwick Castle, as well as a range of fitness prizes.

As part of The Lorn’s Legacy, the umbrella term the sisters have given to their fundraising, Lisa will also be taking part in the London Marathon.

•To take part in the Park Run on April 16 visit www.parkrun.org.uk/gateshead/