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Planned Giving – Honouring a Past Love

May 1, 2024

Article was originally published in Victoria Times Colonist on May 1, 2024.

“Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”

Diane Scott found this sentiment scrawled on a post-it note in her late partner Shelley Deglan’s handwriting shortly after she ended her cancer journey via a medically assisted death.

The fact that Shelley was thinking ahead to when she knew Diane would be struggling was typical of their 38-year relationship. Her compassion for others was the reason she and Diane included the BC Cancer Foundation in their will — and why Diane is continuing with a planned legacy gift in her honour.

“Some people throw a huge celebration of life. That’s not me. And it wasn’t Shelley. We’re introverted types that don’t want a big splash or party.” At Shelley’s request, instead of a service, Diane set up a memorial fund that has raised more than $22,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation.

“Shelley celebrated life by living it,” she says, which included leaving a career in management at London Drugs to start her own garden business, as she was “truly happiest with her hands in the earth,” and to craft beautiful, beaded jewelry which she sold in galleries.

After Shelley overcame endometrial cancer in 2015, the couple moved to Victoria, where they enjoyed retired life on the Island. Until September 2018, when Shelley faced a second aggressive diagnosis of metastatic gallbladder cancer, and was given months to live.

Ten days after the news that left them “gobsmacked,” Shelley started palliative chemotherapy at BC Cancer – Victoria to help ease her incredible discomfort. “It improved her quality of life. From the first treatment she felt better because it shrunk the tumour enough that she could start eating again.”

After treatment, Shelley felt well enough, and was determined despite the risk, to take a trip to their beloved Palm Springs.

“It was perfect. It was sunny every day. It had rained so there was a desert bloom. We did some hikes including Shelley’s favourite way up on this ridge. She got a tan and had colour back in her face.”

When they got home, Shelley’s health steadily declined until she decided to leave on her own terms.

“She was fearless, always willing to try new things. Frugal but willing to spend big on important stuff,” says Diane, and we both believed research in genetic testing for personalized cancer care was worth investing in.

“I had hoped to spend our money with her,” says Diane, of their trips to 69 countries and their shared love of the theatre — but since that’s not possible a gift in her will to the BC Cancer Foundation to improve outcomes for others facing cancer is one last thing they can do together.

“Shelley is still with me in my head and in my heart. It’s a way of honouring her. With someone you love, you never want them to be forgotten.”

To learn more about leaving a legacy gift to the BC Cancer Foundation, we welcome you or your advisor to contact Jordan McClymont at 250.415.1888 or jordan.mcclymont@bccancer.bc.ca or visit bccancerfoundation.com/LegacyGiving