A challenging week, but such happy memories



This week it’s the sixth anniversary of my younger sister Deborah’s death. She was just 39 when she died very suddenly and totally unexpectedly from a brain haemorrhage, leaving behind her husband, three children (the youngest just five months old) and a devastated extended family. I still miss her every single day, but I try to concentrate on all the happy memories, and the fun and great times we shared over the years. There were five sisters and one brother in our family, and it was always chaotic and loud and hilariously funny when we all got together, even as supposedly mature adults – it still is like that, just a little quieter these days. As I said, I miss her every day, but this week is always particularly difficult every year, and has meant the training I’m doing for the charity challenge I’m doing in Deborah’s memory has taken on a new significance.

jackie's sister 1

If you’ve missed me talking about this before, I’m doing the South Coast Challenge in August – a 100km trek around the south coast of England, described as “a sleep deprivation and endurance” challenge because it’s almost two and a half marathons non-stop, other than a few meal breaks.  Training is really kicking in now with three months to go, and I’m doing twenty miles at a time, but every time it gets tough or my feet hurt or my legs ache, I remind myself why I’m doing it – to raise money for the charity Headway, which does so much to help people with brain injuries, like the one which tragically killed my sister. I also think of her wonderful infectious laugh…I’m not sure what she would have made of it, but I suspect she’d find it highly amusing that I, who was utterly rubbish at PE or anything physical at school, am doing such a crazy challenge! I’ve definitely got sportier as I’ve got older, but even so, this is hard work.

jackie's sister 2

I’ve been trying to find ways of making it less hard on my body – I ended up buying THREE pairs of shoes before I found the right ones, light enough to be cool and comfortable but sturdy enough to be supportive and cope with the long distances. Two expensive mistakes, but fortunately third time lucky. (The pair I settled on are by Scarpa.)  I’ve now found the right backpack too, and learned which snacks sustain me best (Jelly Tots are excellent!).

jackie running

I’ve had so much support from friends and colleagues as well, and when the lovely Luke, one of our co-ordinating producers at QVC, heard about what I was doing he offered me a Fitbit to try out, to help monitor my progress – I’ll be reviewing that for you in a separate blog later this week.

As far as the challenge goes then I’m pretty much kitted out now – although I need to dig out my old head torch one of these days to check it’s still working, as I’ll need that for the night phase (we start during the day on a Saturday and continue all night, finishing sometime on the Sunday). The last time I used it was many years ago when I was still a news reporter, covering the famine in Ethiopia, so it’s been a while – I may have to invest in a new one!

I also need to start fundraising in earnest as I haven’t done that much yet and I’m aiming to raise at least £2,000 for the charity. If you would like to donate even a few pence, I have a JustGiving page (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jackie-Kabler) – thank you so much to those who have donated so far. I’m determined to go the distance even if I have to crawl on my hands and knees to the finish line. I won’t be alone though, as my colleague Natalie and ex-colleague Danni are doing it too, each fundraising for charities close to their hearts. We can do this, ladies!

That’s it for now. Have a great week – and if you have a sister, maybe hug her a little harder next time you see her. I’d give anything to hug mine again.

Much love,

Jackie x


  1. Jean Pugh May 31, 2016 at 8:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie,
    I think what you are going to do is fantastic, and for such a worthy charity. I always remember my Mum telling us when we were young that she lost her younger Sister with the same as your poor Sister.

    So sad as well being so young and leaving behind a young family. I am sure you miss her terribly, such a beautiful photograph of her.

    You have a lot of training ahead of you, and I don’t envy you, but I do wish you all the best when you do it.

    Jean xx

    • Jackie Kabler June 1, 2016 at 11:42 am -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      Your poor mum, I feel for her. Thanks for the kind wishes…at least all the training means I can eat more yummy pies etc during my shows, eh!
      Love Jackie x

  2. Eileen Archibald June 1, 2016 at 7:30 am -  Reply

    Oh Jackie I read this with tears in my eyes. I know how you feel after losing my only sister nearly 13 years ago to her brave and long battle with lung cancer. I suppose we were lucky to be there at the end but it still hurts after all this time. We were best friends and spoke every day I miss her phone call to “come for tea and what do you want” usually egg and chips please. We went shopping and dancing together as well as holidays and were well known for our giggles. It would have been her birthday 6 June and every year I buy something major for my garden as that was her love, got to get thinking cap on for this year. Good luck with your training and big hug to you.

    • Jackie Kabler June 1, 2016 at 11:45 am -  Reply

      Hi Eileen,
      Oh I am so very sorry to hear that, to lose your only sister must be just dreadful. I love the idea of buying something for your garden every year, what a lovely way to remember her. Life must go on but we have our happy memories and that’s what we need to concentrate on. Thanks so much for getting in touch.
      Love Jackie x

  3. Lisa June 1, 2016 at 11:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie,
    So sorry to read about your sister, my Brother too died suddenly from a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage on 26th May 2007 he was 38 so very similar situation to you, Lisa xxx

    • Jackie Kabler June 2, 2016 at 11:54 am -  Reply

      Hi Lisa
      Oh I’m so sorry, yes very similar. It’s the suddenness that makes it even more devastating I think.
      Love Jackie xx

  4. Susan June 2, 2016 at 3:00 pm -  Reply

    I’m catching up on your blogs Jackie and I’ve just left you a comment on the previous one too. Just want to say you’re doing a wonderful thing for a charity that will benefit so many of us in the future. Well done and lots of love to you and your family x

    • Jackie Kabler June 3, 2016 at 10:17 am -  Reply

      Hi Susan,
      So kind of you, thank you!
      Love Jackie x

  5. Jill June 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie ihave never commented on your blog before, but felt compeled to leave a comment.
    You are such an inspiration, what a fantastic thing to do raising awareness of this terrible tragic condition that takes so many of our true diamonds of a famiy.
    I lost my nephew 16 years ago and still hold his smile deep inside my heart. As you complete this challenge, hold that memory of your sister close and you will complete this mamoth challenge i’m certain of that.
    Why don’t you have a pic of your sister printed onto the trainers you decided not to wear? Hang them in your closset or dressing room to remind you of the shoe choices you made to get involved and keep your sisters memory alive.

    Very Best Wishes to you

    Jill X

    • Jackie Kabler June 8, 2016 at 8:39 am -  Reply

      Hi Jill,
      How lovely of you to get in touch, and I’m so sorry about your nephew. That’s such a good idea about the trainers! I really appreciate your kind words, thank you so much.
      Love Jackie x

  6. pam stephens June 22, 2016 at 8:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie I love watching your presentations so you can imagine my surprise when you mentioned my review on a recent Butler and Wilson it was for a necklace and I bought it to remind me of a lovely day spent feeding a white tiger it just shows that these reviews are read so thank you…my family also suffered a terrible loss some years ago when my 3 year old granddaughter died with a brain tumour and yes we do learn to move on but we never get over or forget so heres wishing you all the best for your TREK in memory of your beautiful sister I also by a plant for my garden every year in my granddaughters memory///

    • Jackie Kabler June 23, 2016 at 9:02 pm -  Reply

      Hi Pam,
      Oh how lovely to talk to you, I loved the story in your review! I’m so terribly sorry about your granddaughter, what a dreadful loss. Thank you so much for getting in touch, and for your kind wishes.
      Love Jackie x

  7. pam stephens August 27, 2016 at 5:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie this is terribly late to write back to you and don’t know if you will even see it but how lovely to get a reply as I said I really love watching your shows and hearing all you news ///I have some good news we found out last week that my eldest granddaughter Hollie and her partner Ryan ( who we adore ) are expecting their first baby our first great grandchild and we are soo excited /// keep up the good work Jackie love all at qvc xx

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