Saturday, 10 October 2015

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Tribute to woman who helped set up Carlisle breast care support group

An inspirational woman who helped set up Carlisle’s Breast Care Support Group has died.

Margaret Keogh photo
Margaret Keogh

Margaret Keogh passed away peacefully in the Eden Valley Hospice.

Mrs Keogh formed the Carlisle Breast Care Support Group in 1989 after the matron at Caldew Hospital appealed for someone who had experienced breast cancer to give support to a patient.

Mrs Keogh, 71, and Kath Brown went along to offer help and met each other on the steps of the hospital. They became firm friends and, along with Jessie Macmillan, started the support group.

The group has always had the same aim as it did at the very beginning – to provide support and a chance to socialise. It is open to anyone in the area.

Mrs Keogh, of Burgh Road, Belle Vue, had a mastectomy 24 years ago, 18 months after discovering a lump in her breast. She always told people there was every reason to be optimistic even when diagnosed at a late stage.

Her no-nonsense straight-talking and big heart helped countless women cope.

Val Armstrong, who took over the Breast Care Support Group from Mrs Keogh in 2011, said: “Margaret was an amazing lady – an inspiration.

“She gave us support and was very brave.”

Val, 47, who battled cancer twice, said the group was not morbid.

She said: “It is a group of people who have all shared a similar experience. We come together and offer each other support but we have a laugh and a giggle and organise social events. Margaret had not been to any of our recent meetings but she had been to some of our social dos. She will be missed.”

Mrs Keogh, who died on Thursday, spoke out when nine women in Cumbrian hospitals – who had been given the all-clear for breast cancer were diagnosed with the disease.

She said: “There’s going to be an uproar. It will affect the confidence women have in the service.”

Her funeral will be held tomorrow at 11.40am at Carlisle Crematorium.

Her family has requested that people wear bright colours.

Donations can be made to the Eden Valley Hospice.

Margaret leaves her husband Harry, daughter Allison, son-in-law Chris and grandson, Harry.


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