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Sisters set to scale Donard for charity in mum's honour

Emma and Evie Telford are climbing Slieve Donard in memory of mum Lorna
Emma and Evie Telford are climbing Slieve Donard in memory of mum Lorna
Emma and Evie Telford's mum Lorna

By Christopher Leebody

Two Downpatrick sisters are to climb Slieve Donard in memory of their mum who lost her battle with lung cancer in 2014.

Emma (23) and 16-year-old Evie Telford lost their mum Lorna to cancer aged just 49, after an almost five-year-long courageous and difficult battle with the disease.

Lorna, a nurse who went on to become an assistant director within the South Eastern Health Trust, was diagnosed despite being a non-smoker and living an otherwise healthy life.

Describing that difficult time in the life of the family, Emma said: "She had been suffering from symptoms for about a year before she was diagnosed but up until that point had been fit and healthy and showed no signs of anything."

Learning of their mother's diagnosis was even more pronounced for them at such a young age, Emma stressed.

"My first question at 14 years old was: 'Is my mum going to die?'.

"It's just a blur, you don't know how to process it, never mind how to cope with it. You don't realise how final the situation is going to be."

Emma is particularly thankful to the family support service of Cancer Focus NI.

"Cancer Focus worked with us to help accept what was going on and understand it," she added.

"We had two options: to accept what is happening and have open conversations, or bury your head in the sand and live with the regret."

Now an annual event in the family's calendar, the Forget Me Not Walk up Slieve Donard next month in aid of raising money for Cancer Focus NI.

"It is a great way to be able to keep her memory alive, to do something to remember her and a great opportunity to meet other people in the same situation you are in," continued Emma.

"It's lovely to be in a kind of safe environment with people who know exactly what you've been through."

Emma said that the abiding memory of her mum is that of a fantastic woman who always thought of her family first, describing her as being "one of the most strongest people I have ever met".

The walk will take place on September 14, starting at 10am.

"We hope to support the event to get as many people to sign up and raise as much money as we can to help Cancer Focus NI," she said.

Further information can be found at: cancerfocusni.org/forgetmenotwalk

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