From the Blog

Another sad farewell

Yesterday I had to go to another funeral. That’s becoming a pretty regular thing these days but this one was particularly difficult. Katrina was born in March 1975 and passed away on ANZAC Day, just a few days ago so, if you do the maths you will realise that she was just 43 years old. She was the wife of one of my old motorcycling mates, the guy with whom I had done “The Ride that Shall Not be Mentioned” back in 2006.

Not long after her birth it was discovered that Katrina was suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Her childhood was a painful battle against this terrible disease but she soldiered on and tried to live her life as much like her peers as she could.

At age 21 she was admitted to St Vincents Hospital in Sydney where she underwent a double lung transplant. Not long after this she married Damien who was to become the rock on which her delicate life was to balance. Despite the enormity of the surgery and the constraints that it should have place upon her, Katrina lived life to the fullest. She became a competent and accomplished pilllion passenger on the back of Damien’s various BMWs. She was the only person I have ever met who could actually fall asleep while passengering, quite an achievement as Damien was prone to “winding it on” a bit.

Later when Damien left powered cycling behind she joined him on his pushbike rides and they explored the countryside on another kind of two wheels. They also went camping, canoeing and bushwalking, all activities that were probably not recommended for someone whose health was as delicate as hers.

Katrina was constantly in the care of the doctors, medical staff trying to balance her condition and monitor the amount of anti-rejection medication that she needed. And it was this constant regimen of medicines that caused her system to break down. She had to go onto dialysis early last year and it was clear that her condition was worsening. As she could see the inevitable approaching she drew closer to a more spiritual plane, finding comfort in a faith that she had never had before, her writing indicates what inner strength she drew from this in her final days.

It was a huge funeral, packed with many of her friends and work colleagues (she worked for Illawarra Health almost to the end) and friends from all of her and Damien’s various activities. Every funeral is sad but this one perhaps more so because it brought to an end a life that was cruelly short. Katrina was one of the kindest and gentlest souls I have ever met and it seems so unfair that the good get taken. Nevertheless she is now without pain, though the pain for those who remain is tangible.

I count it a privilege that I could call this brave person one of my friends. RIP, Katrina, you were one of the good ones, one of the BEST ones.


  1. so sad to hear those stories
    condolences to all