In memory of Vicky Wilkes: Her precious gift and enduring legacy

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"My goodness, I went and did my best
But the monster was too strong in the end.
This was no fight, I didn't lose, it was medicine that failed me."

We dedicate this page to our late deputy head and best friend, Vicky Wilkes, who died on Tuesday 20th August.
Vicky was only 43, with two lovely children, 10 and 8, when breast cancer took her away. She joined BRiC very soon after it was founded in October 2015, and honoured us by becoming deputy head.
Her voice for secondary breast cancer was not only heard in the centre but in the parliament, at various campaigning events where she fought hard to raise the psychological and physical needs of women with secondary breast cancer, and their vital role in today’s society.
A most talented and beautiful young woman, a most loving mother, and a friend in need when you didn’t even have to ask. Her contributions to BRiC are outnumbered, from directing and producing the many projects she developed, the website, the logo, the videos and the award winning Panning for Gold blog that she designed, the ideas behind developing our Sunday discussions and our Tuesday tidings, to her support for our members. She is absolutely everywhere. Vicky will forever be BRiC’s deputy head and forever our passionate and most feisty friend.
You were there for your children until the very end, Vicky. You said you learned about resilience but it was us whom you taught the practice of resilience in so many ways.
Holding hands Vicky, a hug from every one of the 1755 BRiC members you touched and taught until the very end. There is no ending to your impact. It is timeless. Long will it continue. We love you.

In her own words, last days of her life before taken by breast cancer:

"We all knew this was coming, didn't we? When I would be told that the end is nigh. But it is such a shock when it actually happens and they can't seem to keep your mojo up. 
I have been strong through my ? years of living with secondary breast cancer but it is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with mentally and physically and this is not going to get better and I feel that the time I will fall off my perch is coming soon as my ? isn't coping.
I don't think any of us really accept our mortality, and I certainly wasn't expecting to in my early 30s then again on my early 40s, but it is what it is and I felt it arrogant to ever have said 'why me?'
My relationship with cancer started in 2006 at age 31, but it was when I reached 40 that it got terribly serious and I knew my time here would be shorter than expected.
I had imagined growing old surrounded by my family, seeing my children through their school years, into adulthood, getting married and having their own children. It hurts so much to know I won't get to see these milestones but more importantly that I won't be here for them when they deserve to have their mum there on the special days of their lives. How can I leave these two children without a mum?
Each day is a gift and the only moment any of us really have is now. I don't want to go, I don't want to leave my family and friends, but I have no choice, I have done my best but it's out of my hands.
The one, worst, horrible, bad thing about this dying lark is that I have hated causing sadness. I really hope my children can be resilient and bounce back to be the amazing adults I think they can be.
I look at life through different eyes. I wish people would stop sweating the small stuff and appreciate life and how truly amazing it is. It's ok to find something annoying but then you need to quickly get over it and be thankful it's a minor issue.
As the great Stephen Hawking said.. "Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
So when you do go outside and look at those stars in our universe, take a deep breath, appreciate your existence and that you are able to do these things.
Think about those things that happen to you, that you put a lot of weight into, but which are sleep, bad hair day, don't like how you look, got nothing to wear, house is a mess...just let all that shit go! My body is wrecked, my mind is wrecked, but I see even those things as pretty insignificant because what I really cared about was how long I had left here, would I see my next birthday, my children's birthdays, Christmas.... I needed to keep going, I needed another day with my family and friends and then I needed another and then another, I needed to be here.
Appreciate your body, embrace it but don't obsess over it and look after your mind, as that will look after you. Be grateful for the days when you are not dealing with anything serious and yes it's annoying but it will go away.
Stop the stress of buying stuff you don't need, with money you don't have, to impress people you don't like!
I learned from everyone who joined me on this precious ride that is life. I have laughed and cried with you and we are all part of each others lives which has helped shape the people we are! Thank you, all of you family, friends, nurses and doctors who did their best for me.
You've given me much support and pleasure. I'm glad to have known some of you for many years and just wish I had more time with others of you I've not known for so long.
For goodness sake people, enjoy life, take risks, be kind always, love, be curious about everything, look at the diversity of the world around's incredible, travel, be a badass, smile, be gentle and forgive whenever you can.
Thank you all, now go and toast life with more alcohol than is good for you on this occasion, laugh, smile and have an amazing time.
Much love and thanks!
Peace out! X"

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