Great-gran with cancer beats Covid-19 in time for birthday

Mavis Torrance, 81, overcame coronavirus while receiving care for terminal cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A great-grandmother with terminal cancer has celebrated her birthday after beating coronavirus.

Mavis Torrance, 81, overcame a Covid-19 diagnosis, while receiving care for terminal cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

After her daughter Angela Grubb and son-in-law Gus developed symptoms and self-isolated at home, Mavis, who has been cared for over the past month at the Marie Curie Hospice in Glasgow, developed a high temperature.

The test results, which came on March 31, confirmed the news the woman from Bishopbriggs had been dreading.

‘But here I am’

Mavis said: “I burst into tears. I thought I have so much wrong with me, I’m not going to get through. But here I am.”

Now reunited at home with Angela, Gus and grandson Ross, the family celebrated Mavis’ special birthday on April 10 with balloons, cake, presents and a day of emotional Facetime calls to family, including her great-grandchildren.

Mavis thanked Marie Curie for her care, when she said: “The hospice were absolutely fabulous, the staff are so caring. The minute you walk through the door they do anything for you.”

Angela added: “Mum describes the hospice as a five-star hotel. After moving in with us last year, I found it hard to let go of her care, but the staff were all just fantastic.

“She even had her meals specially cooked for her – salmon with sauce! I’m not a cook so she’s back to basics now.

“Mum was doing her embroidery to pass the time, chatting to staff and even started watching soaps again – Emmerdale is her favourite.

Reunited: Mavis and her dog Pippin

“She’s loved getting back to her wee dog and we are so grateful to have her home. Marie Curie are continuing to check in with us and they got us the proper equipment that mum needs at home.

“A proper hospital bed, a rise and fall chair, a portable frame called a Sara Stedy to safely transport her between her rooms and shifting sheets for moving and handling. It’s made such a difference.”

The coronavirus lockdown has had a silver lining for the family.

Gus, a Dean of Faculty at City of Glasgow College, has more time now he’s working from home and has been able to help more in caring for Mavis.

And although the birthday is over, the celebrations won’t stop there as the family look forward to coming out of lockdown.

Speaking about that time, Mavis promised: “We’ll celebrate.”

Irene Johnstone, Marie Curie Hospice manager said: “We are so happy for Mavis and her family that they’ve recovered from this devastating virus.

“It’s so special that she was able to spend her birthday at home surrounded by her loved ones and wee dog that she adores.

“Our hospices and nurses are on the frontline caring for dying people, both with and without coronavirus. We’re pulling out all the stops to care for patients and helping relieve pressure on the NHS at this time.”

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