THE INSPIRATIONAL story of a terminally ill mother’s determined struggle to make the most of every day has touched one of the nation’s top operatic performers.
For the past decade, Mandy Paine, of Selwyn Avenue, Wick, has been valiantly battling against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – a condition which affects her ability to breathe to such an extent that she now needs to use oxygen tanks 24 hours a day to survive.
But after the mum of two reached her 50th birthday, in February – a milestone she admitted she didn’t think she would achieve – Mandy put her mind into fulfilling a long-hoped ambition and record a song with her youngest son, Daniel, a dream which has been hailed by singing star Mylene Klass, as “inspirational” in a video message to the pair.
Mandy, who is a classically trained singer, recorded the song, entitled Make That Climb, with her son in London, earlier this year and now hopes to raise £50,000 to help support The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), a charity which is very close to her heart.
She said: “I had done a wish list with 50 things I wanted to do before I died.
“I desperately wanted to do something with Dan that left an impact. It was such a special moment that I know I will cherish, forever.”
Mandy, who has been singing since she was a child, said that, because of her reduced lung capacity, recording the track was one of the most physically demanding challenges she had ever faced.
“There were points when we could only record one word at a time because I simply couldn’t sing any more than that.
“By the end of it, I was in agony. But that didn’t matter to me. I just wanted to show people that it doesn’t matter how bad you are and how ill you might be. If you want to do something and have the drive to do it you can achieve anything.”
She added: “Daniel is the most loving son a mother could ever ask for.”
Other things on Mandy’s list include, meeting the Queen, going to an opera, seeing her children get married and witnessing the birth of her first grandchild.
Mandy and Daniel’s song is now available to view here and has been released to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness Week, which begins today (Monday, May 14).
Led by the NCPC, the Dying Matters Awareness Week seeks to change attitudes to death, dying and bereavement, encouraging people to talk more openly about the end of life. Mandy said: “Dying Matters is a group comprised of about 16,000 charities, hospices, nurses, doctors, funeral directors as well as families and individuals who are themselves facing the end of life.
“For the past few years I have been advising GPs and doctors on the best way to break the news to patients who have recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
“I want people to be able to see the positive aspects of life and the work Dying Matters and the NCPC do is invaluable.”
Donations to back Mandy’s fund-raising bid can be made at www.justgiving.com/mandychallenge50