A COSTUME designer and cabaret club member is encouraging Penarth Times readers to participate in Marie Curie’s Pay for a Day campaign.

Lorrainne Castellano, 57, was given an expectation of 18 months to live when she was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer in 2013, but has defied doctors’ expectations and is calling for people to help support the hospice to continue providing care and support to people living with a terminal illness, and their families.

At the start of the year, she was told she has only three to four months left to live, but has continued to defy those expectations.

She has previously been receiving care from Marie Curie through its day therapy unit with complementary therapies, but in the past few months, she has been admitted to the inpatient wards at the charity’s Bridgeman Road Hospice on two occasions for symptom control.

Her dog, Miss Betty, has been staying with a friend during her stays and visiting a farm daily to help with the horses – chasing her mum PJ around the fields.

But she has been allowed to come in to visit, and has provided joy not only to Ms Castellano, but comfort to other patients too.

“When they told me I could have Betty here, it was the best medicine ever,” she said.

“Betty just knows when you need that extra love. She feels so lovely to stroke and cuddle as she has a beautiful soft curly black coat.

“Giving her a cwtch just makes you feel so relaxed.

“Miss Betty has come to visit at all different times of day, and of course I have to share her with the nurses and other patients.

“She knows when she is coming here.

“It means everybody talks, because we have a focal point – people always talk about their dogs and that Betty brings back lovely memories.”

Ms Castellano takes daily walks with Miss Betty along Penarth clifftops and at Cosmeston Lakes and encourages people to head over and say hello to find out more information about Marie Curie if they see them.