Always smiling and happy, Caitriona Lovell was a great friend to everyone she knew. Her positive attitude meant that when friends visited Cat, everyone left the room happier than when they went in. City Hospice provided specialist palliative care to Cat until she passed away in the summer of 2022, aged 35.
Caitriona loved spending time with friends and being creative. Passionate about art, she enjoyed pottery and going to art classes, using the skills and techniques she learned to make cards and gifts for her friends and family.
During her first year of secondary school at Corpus Christi, Cat began feeling unwell in the mornings and her mother Carmel noticed that Cat was walking differently. Around the same time, Cat’s dad Phil realised that she could no longer ride her bike properly when they were out cycling together. Following an urgent GP appointment, Cat was referred to the University Hospital of Wales where she was diagnosed, aged 11 and a half, with a brain tumour which was the size of a tangerine.
Following surgery and radiotherapy, Cat was supported by Tŷ Hafan and Whizz Kidz as she adapted to life in a wheelchair and partial sight loss. Despite her illness and years of operations, Cat was determined to make the most of her life, enjoying trips to Barry Island and Disneyland Paris and meeting Boyzone.
Towards the end of Cat’s life, she was transferred into the care of City Hospice, Cardiff’s local hospice.
Carmel said: “Cat was a patient at Tŷ Hafan during her childhood so we were familiar with hospice care but hearing the word ‘hospice’ was still daunting. City Hospice definitely put us at ease and ensured that all of our wishes were followed.
“Cat’s City Hospice nurses Terri and Allen were marvellous and were always there for us when we needed them. Cat would look forward to Terri’s visits and Terri really got to know and understand her, leading to a lot of fun between them. She was so caring and ensured that we had everything we needed when the time came for Cat’s peaceful passing.
“They did an amazing job of looking after not only Cat but the whole family. Knowing City Hospice will always be there to support our family is a huge comfort to us.”
Carmel, her husband Phil and son David will be remembering Cat in the lead up to Christmas as they support the charity’s Light Up A Life appeal.
Carmel said: “Cat loved Christmas; she lived every day for that special time. We would often move our Christmas celebrations to a day when Cat was feeling well and could enjoy it. She loved having visits from her friends during the festive season and presenting them with cards and gifts that she had made herself. It was the most wonderful time of the year to her.”
A donation made during the Light up a Life appeal will make a world of difference to a family facing terminal illness in the community. To donate, visit https://www.cityhospice.org.uk/star-in-the-sky/ or call 02920 524 150.