'Highland Hospice was there for mum – now it's our turn to give back'
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When Melanie Maclennan and Karen MacDonald take to the fashion catwalk for charity this weekend it will be in memory of a dearly-missed loved one.
They are among the models who will be taking part in Catwalk for a Cause in Inverness this Saturday – a fundraising event in aid of the Highland Hospice.
The event, which last year alone raised £74,500, also helps to provide a platform to the many brave people who have battled cancer or who have had it touch their lives in some way.
And for Melanie and Karen, they will be taking part in memory of Melanie's mum and best friend – Christina Maclennan – who sadly passed away in the hospice just one week before her 50th birthday in November 2022.
Melanie, who works as an English teacher and was brought up in the Highlands, added that it's also a chance to give back to the hospice and show support for a charity that did so much to ensure her mum's final days were ones of "dignity, care and respect".
"My mum fought an extremely brave battle with breast cancer, passing away peacefully in the Highland Hospice," she explained.
"She was witty, strong, and the kindest person I knew. She was the best mum and wife me, my two sisters Mary and Leah, and our dad could have asked for.
"My mum always spoke so highly of the hospice following the love and care they showed her sister Nellie, who also spent her final days there.
"She was adamant it was where she also wanted to go when the time came. During the worst moments of our lives, I could see where my mum was coming from – the staff at the hospice were absolutely admirable in their support to us as a family, and treated my mum with such dignity, care and respect.
"We spent 19 days with my mum in the Hospice, taking it in turns to stay in the family room and the staff were so patient and kind.
"I said shortly after my mum passed that a lifelong goal of mine would be to raise money for the hospice to give back to an organisation which has given us as a family so much.
Christina's sister-in-law Karen MacDonald is also eager to take part and shine a light on the hospice's sterling work.
The company director, who hails from Westhill in Inverness, said: "Highland Hospice needs all the support it can get. We will all need its services at some point in our lives.
"When these horrible diseases come calling it is a comfort to know that the hospice is there, not only looking after the patient but the family as well."