Help with Corinne's Final Wish
My name is Darren and I have started this campaign in an effort to enable my sister Corinne to visit the Vatican before she is no longer able to travel.
From birth my sister has a complex congenital heart disorder which would have required a dual transplant of heart and lungs to resolve. The time where this was a viable solution has now passed and there are increasing neurological complications. By even the most generous estimate she has no longer that 5-12 months left.
Though devastated, she has faced this with their trademark gallows humour and unshakable faith. She has expressed a desire to visit the Vatican before it’s too late as, her faith is a strong focus for her. I want more than anything to be able to make this happen for her, but my family simply does not have the means.
Corinne took a great deal of persuading to allow me to pursue this avenue of help as she is a private and unassuming person who dislikes attention. However, we have convinced her that this is the only way for Corinne to achieve her final wish.
By our calculations we originally needed a figure of around £14,500 ($22,500 or €20,300). Since Corinne's husband removed himself from the campaign it has now been revised down to £12,000 of which roughly £3,000 to £5,000 is for the medical insurance required for someone in her condition. All travel would be via train, with multiple stops, as she can no longer fly.
What follows are Corinne’s own words
“I was born with a congenital heart defect and my parents were told I had less than a week to live. That was forty-two years ago and while it has made everything I decide to do harder it has never stopped me, just slowed me down, that is until recently.
I was on the Heart and Lung transplant list for 17 years, from my late teens to my mid thirties, but no organs became available. This was largely due to the fact that with both a heart and lungs two lives could be saved rather than one. It is now long since past the point where I would survive the operation even if it was an option.
While on the transplant list I sat my Highers (against the school’s advice as they thought the stress would potentially kill me) and continued to study at college and then at University. The life long learning courses at Edinburgh University is where I found my love of Egyptology and Church History. I ultimately applied to Glasgow University and got into their Bachelor of Divinity course via distance learning. It was a significant effort for me to keep focused but I finally graduated with my BD in 2008 and was awarded the Archibald Main prize that same year by the University Senate.
I married my husband in 2011 and began my Masters course, again with Glasgow University, but regrettably had to stop due to a dramatic drop in my health which resulted in entering third stage heart failure and gaining some neurological damage.
I was told in October 2014 that I have anything from 6-18 months left though in truth I knew the direction this was heading in, it was still devastating to hear the words spoken out loud and heartbreaking to have to repeat it to my family.
Since receiving the estimates of how long I have left I have been trying to get everything into order and to experience more of the world. Though by no means well off I have been able to have small trips around Scotland and the north of England. The idea of visiting the Vatican however has never left me. Rome to me is an adventure of the historical and cultural aspects of Christianity, spiritual and a historical journey.
Vatican city is the home of the Catholic Church, it houses the Vatican secret archives. Paintings by Michaelangelo one of the most famous artists of the renaissance. The church also has the Forbidden Index which I personally would love to see, as the best theologians of the reformation are named in this document for their heretical theological publications, which I have studied. The spiritual part is simply a pilgrimage or visit to the holy land of the Catholic Church.
So today I need to swallow my pride and ask for your help to make this wish come true. When I die I have to leave the man I love behind but I don’t want to go without seeing the most holy site.
Are you real people/Is this true?
Yes, my Facebook page is linked to the campaign and Corinne’s is HERE . The very first thing we will do is share it though that medium. I’m making myself fully available and open to answer any questions you may about this, Corinne or myself.
The amount is quite large for a holiday
First, it’s more of a pilgrimage than a holiday and it is currently envisaged to take at least three weeks due to Corinne’s condition. Second this is an ESTIMATE. Due to not knowing when exactly Corinne can travel we have ball parked the number somewhat. We are constantly revising the number in the background so as to not ask for any more than is needed
What will go to Corinne ?
Everything minus fees for this funding platform together with any card/bank fees. No-one other than Corinne is getting a “cut”.
What would be done with any money above that total?
Let’s not count our chickens... in that unlikely event the first thing that would happen is that we would upgrade the various modes of transport and accommodation. There are also few things her siblings are suggesting like a “Lessons from Corinne” book that can share her advice, life and lifestyle with her nieces and nephews... such as the horrific way she eats choc-ices, it has to be seen to be believed.
Really though if there are any funds above those needed for the trip it would be used by Corinne to have any experience they would like to have.
Whether you donate or not I want to thank you for taking the time to read this.
I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to you and everyone else who made her trip to Rome possible. In conversation with her on Easter Sunday she told me that her pilgrimage was one of the most important events in her life and that she would once again like to express her thanks to you all for making it a reality.
As I said in my last update nearly 16 months ago “The whole family would like to thank each and every one of you who has supported the campaign and made this trip a reality for Corinne. For myself, I would like to say to you that no matter how much you gave it would not have happened without you. Take any one of you kind and generous people out and the trip wouldn’t have happened.”
Now that she is gone those words and the campaign as a whole are all the more meaningful to me.
At the general audience on the 2nd of December in St Peters Square my sister Corinne met the Pope and received his blessing. It has been a journey of a lifetime and Corinne feels more energised and more focused than she has done in years. Corinne made the pilgrimage with our mother Irene and, after much toing and froing, her husband Andrew where they spent the week in the Vatican City.
The whole family would like to thank each and every one of you who has supported the campaign and made this trip a reality for Corinne. For myself, I would like to say to you that no matter how much you gave it would not have happened without you. Take any one of you kind and generous people out and the trip wouldn’t have happened.
“The whole experience has been beautiful and extremely emotional. I have had the honour of seeing the Sistine chapel, the Apostolic Palace and have been brought to tears visiting the chambers under the Basilica and seeing the bones of St Peter.”
“The walk through the Vatican and into the general audience was like a journey back in time. It was almost as though the scene may have been trapped in amber for hundreds of years. The sound of voices echoed around the square some lifted in song, some in greeting and some in laughter but they all fell silent as the audience began.
“Towards the end of the service Pope Francis descended and moved to meet those in wheelchairs personally. He walked amongst us - greeting and touching the hands of many. Then he stopped in front of me and touched my head and blessed me. It was the most wonderful experience imaginable. Afterwards, I went back to my hotel and slept solidly for six hours.”
“I will never be able to thank you enough for you support and love.”
An early start to the day saw Corrine, Irene and Andrew rushing to meet with Monsignor Keenan once again. Given Corinne’s condition the lack of sleep, from excitement, combined with the three days travel finally caught up with her so it was only her desire to meet Pope Francis that got her moving.
Corinne describes the walk through the Vatican and into the Hall of Pope Paul VI as a journey back in time. She felt that the scenes she was seeing may have been trapped in amber for hundreds of years. The crowd seemed to her a riot of colour that moved in waves as people took their seats. The sound of voices echoed around the hall some lifted in song, some in greeting and some in laughter. They all fell silent as the audience began.
As Pope Francis entered she heard her name being called gently and turning she was greeted by an American Cardinal, whose name she has helpfully forgotten. The Cardinal was a good friend of Archbishop Cushley who had, once again, asked that Corinne be looked after. The Pope ascended to his throne and the service began.
Corinne describes the service as very uplifting and in particular remembers the entire hall singing “What colour is God’s skin”. Towards the end of the service Pope Francis descended and moved to meet those in wheelchairs personally. He walked through them, greeting all and touching hands of many. Stopping in front of Corinne he touched her head and blessed her.
Elated by the experience, in particular the blessing, Corinne returned to the hotel after the general audience and slept for 6 hours!
Corinne has been contacted by the Bureau Chief of the Catholic News Agency who has taken a keen interest in her story. She may appear on TV!
I spoke with Corinne this evening and her mood can best be described as exultant. She feels more energised and more focused than she has done in years.
After a relatively lazy start to the day they walked into the Vatican and made their way to the meeting point where they met their guide, Monsignor Keenan. They were taken into the Apostolic Palace, normally off limits to the general public, and guided around the frescos and statues snapping pictures and grilling the Monsignor with questions as they went.
They descended into the chambers under the Basilica where, in what Corinne describes as the one of the most emotional moments of her life; she was able to view the bones of St Peter himself. She was brought to tears at the sight.
Ascending into the Basilica proper they were given the grand tour before proceeding to the Sistine Chapel. They were able to view the world famous frescoes at a leisurely pace as the Monsignor explained the function of conclaves and the election of a Pope. They then finished the tour by being taken up onto the roof of St Peters and were shown points of interest in the magnificent vistas around them.
Corinne was presented with the tickets for the Papal audience tomorrow and will be guided in by the Monsignor.
Truly a marvellous day,