Announcing the Death of Jill Canvin, Co-Founder

Sadly Jill Canvin, Co-Founder of ONRECORD died of breast cancer in February this year.  

Diagnosis

Jill’s death seemed particularly tragic.  she was an only child.  Her father had died a few years ago and Jill had and spent the years looking after her mother.  Her mother was bedridden for over a year before dying in January 2023 but Jill provided her sole care.  Shockingly, at the age of just 64, Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer only a month after her mother eventually died.  At the time of diagnosis she also discovered that it had already spread widely. 

A Losing Battle

Jill died of breast cancer within a year of the diagnosis, spending 2023 in a series of unsuccessful attempts at treatment under specialist care, gradually losing weight and strength as the cancer progressed.  Having spent some years looking forward to being free to pursue her own priorities rather than those of her mother, having done little other than work and provide care, her illness snatched away her hopes of new adventures and interests.

Delusions

Jill’s final year was a reminder of how cruel cancer can still be in spite of optimistic reports in the media of more effective treatments, better prognosis and improvements in end of life care.  To some extent, announcements of discoveries of new treatments for breast cancer led to Jill never accepting that she had a terminal illness and she continued to act as if she had further years of life. As the year progressed she became increasingly unrealistic about the terminal nature of her illness but instead came to the irrational belief that she needed to ‘escape’ in order to start a new life.

Jill had never been a very sociable person but decided that now she needed to start making new friends. She started to look for a house to buy in Cornwall, well away from Wiltshire where she had always lived.  She tried to launch a new career in property development.  She rewrote her Will in the mistaken belief that she had to shed all her previous commitments, and bequeathed her share of ONRECORD to charity.  Her new friends did nothing to contradict her fears, although that was perhaps the kindest thing they could do, but no doubt this reinforced her mistaken understanding of her situation.  Her oncologist also played a part by always offering some new intervention whenever the last treatment failed, reinforcing her faith in the prospect of surviving.

Two weeks before she died, just as she was about to start a course if IV chemotherapy, she fled from her home to a friend, without leaving any explanation or any information about where she had gone.  Her death two weeks later, the day after her second IV treatment seems to have taken her completely by surprise.

Our Future

Following the death of Jill Canvin, ONRECORD is now to be 50% owned by a charity although we do not know which yet.  As the sole Director, I will continue to manage the business but now with an unknown partner.  We shall see what unfolds.  We do not want Jill’s founding efforts to be wasted so we shall continue with our work.

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