IT TOOK her grandpa, granny and mum; now it is threatening her little sister.
Cancer has been an inescapable reality for Jennie Osbaldiston for more than a decade.
Standing in the kitchen of her Glenrinnes home, the 38-year-old absentmindedly stirs a bowl of cake mix as she looks out of the window, down the glen.
“Mum and granny both died in the June of 2001, mum on June 3 and granny three weeks later,” she said.
Jennie is quiet by nature and content; she has her two children, her husband of 15 years Jonathan, her wider family and her home.
Yet, having learned that her sister Katherine (37) has ovarian cancer, she is preparing to step out of her comfort zone to do her bit to help fight the disease.
“It is something I have never done before and I feel a wee bit out of my depth, but I decided that if Katherine and mum and granny and my grandpa coped with cancer, then surely I can go a little bit out of my way to do something to help,” she said.
Jennie has decided to host a tea and cake afternoon at Aberlour Parish Church later in the summer.
“I stuck on the idea because people say I can bake. Every time visitors come to the house, there are cakes. I’m a fairly quiet person, unless I know people I’m quiet, but this is something I think I can do.
“Katherine ran the London marathon in memory of mum and gran. What I’m doing is nothing compared to what she did and on a much smaller scale, but I would like to now do this for Katherine. I walk for Britain, I hate running, but I can make cakes,” she said.
Jennie was just six when her grandpa died of pancreatic cancer.
Then, 12 years ago, her granny Mona Franklin was told she had ovarian cancer. Three months later, the family learned that Jennie’s mum, Sue Cutts, also had the disease.
“First my mum had breast cancer and, after surgery and treatment, was given the all-clear. However, six months later she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as well.
“My eldest child was just nine months old when our good friend, and family doctor, told us that mum and granny had just six months,” she said.
“Mum died at the beginning of June, she was all of 51. Then we had to go on caring for granny, we didn’t have quite enough time to grieve. Three weeks later, granny died aged 77.”
Jennie and the family later learned that both had mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Both she and her two sisters, Katherine and Anna, who now lives in New Zealand, would need to be checked.
It was a few years after the birth of her second son that Jennie plucked up the courage to go to Aberdeen to take the tests.
Mercifully, they came back negative. “I think I had a feeling of shock. I was convinced that if mum and granny had it, then the gene would be passed on to me.
“The first thing I did was ring my dad (John Cutts) who was in the middle of a meeting. He was just thrilled, as was my husband,” she said.
Last March, Katherine, who is married and lives in Yorkshire, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “She is having chemotherapy at the moment and she has determination and faith,” Jennie said.
Aided by friends, Jennie’s afternoon tea at Aberlour Parish Church on September 8 will raise vital funds for Cancer Research.
Running from 2pm to 4pm, there will be homemade cakes, tea and coffee, cards and craft stalls, and raffles for both grown ups and children.
“It is something little that I am doing for Cancer Research, but hopefully it will help make big changes in finding ways to cure all cancers someday.
“In comparison to the problems people with cancer suffer, and those lives it touches, this is the least I can do,” Jennie said.
All are welcome to attend. Those who would like to help, but can’t make it along to the event, can visit www.justgiving.com/Jennifer-Osbaldiston to donate to Jennie’s Cakes and Bakes for Cancer Research.