Hospice nurse with cancer raises funds for its work

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A nurse at a hospice has launched her own fund-raising drive for its vital work after being diagnosed with a rare cancer.

Debbie Keld, 51, had no warning she was ill until she collapsed during a night shift on the inpatient unit at Saint Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough.

Within hours, she had undergone surgery and soon after was diagnosed with cancer.

She has vowed to continue supporting the hospice even during her illness and tonight she will have all her hair cut off at a fund-raising event.

The married mother-of-two said she had never asked the question “Why me?” “I’ve looked after people in the hospice who are a lot younger than me, including people with young children,” she said. “So why not me?”

She felt fit and well until six weeks ago when she suffered severe stomach pains at work. They eased for a while but colleagues called 999 when she collapsed again. Emergency surgery revealed she had suffered a ruptured bowel due to a tumour. She was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, a rare and often aggressive cancer.

“What I’m told is that it is curative as long as I can withstand the rather horrible treatment I’m going through,” she said.

She had her first chemotherapy last week and knew that would mean losing her hair. “I like to be in control so I thought I’d get there first,” she said.

She will have her hair cut off tonight at the Duchess pub on Hovingham Drive in Scarborough.

Families she has supported through her work have already donated to her fund-raising effort for the hospice where she has worked for more than a decade.

She added: “Working at the hospice is my life. I desperately, desperately want to be back at work as soon as I possibly can.”