Donna Lee Thornton - Obituary in the Stansted Link Magazine

Donna was twenty-nine when she died of cancer.  She was married to Andy and they have a daughter, Cara who is just two.  I make no apologies for the fact that what I am about to write is very personal because with Donna, everything was about being personal.  She was about getting involved, not being afraid to shine a light into dark corners because it might mean you need to make a response and take action when it might be more comfortable to pretend you didn’t know it was there. Forthright and honest, you never had to wonder about Donna’s opinion of life, death or God.  For Donna, God was never very far away; He was central to her being.

Throughout her ‘journey’ with cancer, and I use her word not mine, she faced her own dark corner and shouldered not only her own grief but also the sadness of the people who loved her.  And I think about that word ‘journey.’  She had no patience with the words ‘fight’ or ‘battle’ there was nothing she could do to win this one and she wasn’t leaving this world a loser.  Journey would also be the word I would choose to describe her life.  Short it may have been; cruelly so, but with every hurdle she overcame, she grew in strength and insight and character.  It was these qualities which drove her to help set up a project to look after prostitutes in Hull and then to nurse and counsel people with AIDS.  

I knew her for such a short time, but from the first encounter I felt that I had gained a friend.  She had the gift of making people feel valued and cared for.  You learned never to ask her opinion if all you were looking for was reinforcement of your own views.  She was fiercely loyal and if you were between a rock and a hard place, you could count on her to be there with you.

Bolshy, impatient, strong-minded, headstrong, vibrant, warm, caring, devoted.  Take your pick, you could use one or all of these characteristics to describe Donna.  But most of all, I know that Cara, who is just setting out on her own journey, will grow up with the knowledge that her mother was a person who inspired love. A love that will remain with us, always.