‘The world changed that day’

Adam MacInnis
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The funeral for Lorna Patchett of MacLellan’s Mountain will be held today. She leaves behind her husband Jamie and daughters, Julie and Kelly. Pictured is the family together before her death. SUBMITTED

“It’s not a good thing,” a woman said to a girl crying beside her as they left P &K MacDonald Funeral Home yesterday.

She couldn’t have been more right.

The pair had just been in for the visitation of Lorna Patchett. At 48, she had died too soon and left too many to mourn.

Inside Lorna’s husband Jamie and daughters Julie and Kelly stood as dozens trickled in and out to offer their condolences.

But even in this time of bitter sorrow, the Patchetts aren’t thinking of themselves.

Lorna was always concerned about others and never about herself and even as she was dying with cancer, her concern was for the women who might have to face the same fight she was in.

That’s why her family put “Lorna’s Wish” at the bottom of her obituary in The News this week, which encouraged women to get regular testing for cancer.

“She was always concerned about others,” Jamie said.

Cancer started warring against Lorna before she knew it existed in her body. April 24, 2012, should have been a good evening, but it wasn’t. Lorna and James had just returned home from a movie and Lorna was putting on her pajamas when she felt a lump in her left breast.

It was the start of a 299-day battle. In quick succession, the fear became reality. May 15 she had a biopsy done. May 24, she found out it was cancerous.

“The world changed that day,” says Jamie. “It’s hard to put it into words. It was like everything was in a fog. It was an awful feeling.”

Both wondered what was going to happen. On June 8, Lorna had an operation and rounds of chemotherapy started in August, but after her fifth round of it, they found out that the cancer had spread to her liver.

The type of chemotherapy was changed in an attempt to keep it at bay.

Those who knew her watched helplessly.

“When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, we came to realize that inside the sweet person we knew was the heart of a fighter,” said sister in law Dianne Fraser. “She met her battle with resolve and hope that she would be a survivor.”

And as she learned and educated herself on the disease, she realized that there was a wealth of information that, unless you were battling the disease, women were basically unaware of. She became adament that we must become aware of the risks and become diligent in self-examination and obtaining mammograms, Fraser said.

“Women cannot take it for granted that it won't happen to me,” Fraser said. “There will be an enormous void in the lives of her family and her friends.  She was many things to many people who were fortunate to know and love her.  Everyone of us hoped and prayed that she would be one of the lucky ones, that she would be a survivor.  That was not to be Lorna's fate.”

James remembers his wife’s courage and compassion for others through it all.

“After work I’d meet her and we’d always go for a walk.”

Often she’d express her frustration to him that women don’t know the risks.

They walked until she had no more strength for it.

Last Friday, a doctor came out, sat down in their home and told them she would die within three to five weeks. Saturday she slipped away.

“It was very devastating,” Jamie said.

He and Lorna had been married for 27 years, but their relationship stretched much farther back than that. Lorna had captured his heart when she was just 15. When she was 16 he proposed and when she was 21 they married.

Today, he will hold a funeral for his love. He will hug his daughters and along with the dozens will mourn her loss.

He had 299 days after they found the lump. He wishes it were more.

“When she and her family realized that her battle was coming to an end, she decided that she needed people to learn from her story and that if her message would save even one woman's life,” said Fraser, “then her death would not have been in vain.”


Lorna’s Wish as written by her family

When Lorna found the lump in her left breast God began to take her on a 299 day journey. As all who loved and knew Lorna would bear witness to the importance of women to have a mammogram every year, not two years. Take the time for yourself and do a self-examination every day; 740 women will be diagnosed this year with breast cancer and 160 mothers, daughters, sisters, wives will die.




On Twitter: @NGNewsAdam

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Recent comments

  • Jessica Cameron
    April 27, 2014 - 21:45

    We love you an We miss you . xoxoxoxo

  • Janice
    February 21, 2013 - 05:42

    Im so sorry for your loss. It doesn't make sense and it is not fair but hopefully she's with the ones that passed before her and in the end, we will all meet again. That's how I choose to look at it. I hope it helps a little bit. It's the ones that remain behind that suffer. Lorna's good now, no more pain, no more suffering

  • marla
    February 20, 2013 - 21:08

    What a beautiful family and such a sad story..I pray that the family feels her love wrapped around them each and every day.. My deepest sympathy to the family and friends

  • Elaine
    February 20, 2013 - 20:37

    I actually had a mammogram booked yesterday and thought of Lorna and her battle as I went through this exam. She was so strong and determined to live, such a wonderful person. My thoughts and prayers are with you Jamies, Julie and Kelly, such a wonderful service today.

  • Patti
    February 20, 2013 - 18:31

    I was truly touched by your Mother's story on the evening news. I am scheduled to have a mammogram, next week but as indicated, I am now at the age that I can now only have the procedure done, every 2 years. I too believe that every woman , should have the option of having a mammogram done every year, if they so wish.

  • Christina Patchett
    February 20, 2013 - 14:22

    Thank You, Everyone for you kind thoughts and Prayers for our Lorna. I am deeply touched.

  • Andrew Robertson
    February 20, 2013 - 10:46

    So sad, but inspirational in the same breathe in her battle of 299 days. We truly take too much for granted.

  • Brian & Maria Gunn & family
    February 20, 2013 - 10:07

    We are so sorry to hear of Lorna's passing. You are in our prayers.

  • Karin
    February 20, 2013 - 09:01

    I wish they would extend the mammogram to younger women like myself. I feel fear when I ask to be checked because my grandmother had breast cancer and continuously get refused. Testing needs to be extended to younger women. I currently have a good friend at the young age of 29 fighting breast cancer as I type this. She is the mother of 3 kids under 6. Breast cancer can hit at any age. If you are old enough for a pap you are old enough for a mammogram. Sorry for your loss, take care.

  • Betty MacInnis
    February 20, 2013 - 08:23

    So sorry for your loss,on June 7th I had a mastectomy after reading Lorna had hers on the 8th it really struck me on how this hideous disease picks and chooses it's prey. Makes me truly appreciate each day . God Bless you all!!

  • Kelly
    February 20, 2013 - 08:19

    I'm so sorry for your loss! I will start checking more often and get a mammogram in Lorna's memory.

  • Beverly MacKay-Landry
    February 20, 2013 - 07:04

    I am very sorry for your loss,your story really touched me.I know I should be more conscience of self-examination.I have two adult daughters but I was widowed 20 years ago when they were children so I feel being the only Parent I should be more diligent in my checking.Thank-you for a wake -up call.In Lorna's memory I will set a time everyday to check.Take care.

    • So Sorry
      February 20, 2013 - 09:07

      I am extremely sorry for your loss, & while Self Exams do help find Breast Cancer..Mammograms have been proven to Cause it...and that's why it was changed to Scan Every 2 years....You are Radiating THE Very delicate Breast Tissue with Every Mammogram...Please be informed & make your own Decisions