Grace O’Donoghue has worked tirelessly to promote the Visions exhibition at Lister Mills, where the sale of prints raises funds for the Haematology Unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary, as a tribute to her late father.
She explained, “In the summer of 2009 my dad had kidney pains and when he went into hospital for tests they discovered he had acute myeloid leukaemia. He was only sixty-two and they gave him only a 13% chance of surviving. However they tried him with an experimental drug only used on younger people because otherwise he was really fit.
He had recently moved to Bristol after years of teaching in Rhodesway School in Bradford and he was treated there. I was his main carer but I was also studying for a degree in English & Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. He was given the all clear at Christmas that year but then he phoned me on 9th January to say he felt poorly and was going into hospital for some more tests, then he died suddenly. He was so unwell and I never had chance to say goodbye. He was my hero and my best friend. I was devastated and left university after he died. Later in 2010 I used part of my inheritance to spend two months in South Africa visiting my auntie who is an award winning documentary film maker. I took hundreds of photographs – of animals, landscapes and seascapes – and found this a comfort and a release.”
Having changed direction and begun her photography degree, Grace wants to use her skills to make a difference. She continued, “My dad was never treated in Bradford and at his funeral we raised £600 for the Haematology Unit in Bristol. I remember how bleak it was when he was being treated it and we talked about how much difference brighter surroundings and better facilities would make to patients and their families.”