Tribute to Anna Sarphie, one of OBBG’s founding members

Tribute to Anna Sarphie

We were all extremely saddened when we heard that Anna Sarphie, one of OBBG’s founding members, had passed away. We know that this will also have been the case for all members of our OBBG community who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Anna was such a beautiful person (outwards and inwards). She was hard-working and always positive; she lived her life with vigour, passion, compassion and spirited determination. She was a very clear thinker and communicator and could be relied upon to steer us at our OBBG Trustee meetings if our discussions ever went off course or if she believed that we were not staying true to the purpose and values for which OBBG was founded.

Anna was passionate about research and pushing for improved treatments for breast cancer patients. She fought hard to take part in a drug trial for brain metastases with the aim of making this available to all patients who may benefit from it in the future.

Not only was Anna a great asset to OBBG, she also engaged across the board with many other breast cancer charities determined to make the voice of patients heard as widely and broadly as possible.

Anna is such a loss to this world. Our hearts reach out to her family, especially her two sons, to whom we know she was incredibly close. We miss her so much, her beautiful smile, her reliability, her strength, her guidance, her warmth. OBBG trustee meetings are not the same without her. She was our linchpin.

Anna leaves behind her the lasting legacy of a wonderfully supportive charity that touches the lives of many breast cancer patients. We continue our work in her memory, and in the memory of all breast cancer patients who have also lost their lives to this awful disease. More importantly, we will continue our work for the benefit of current and future breast cancer patients – we know that this is what Anna wanted OBBG to do.

The group extends their condolences to her family and hope that the OBBG board can stay in touch with the family member(s) by keeping them updated about the ongoing work to provide support to breast cancer patients as per Anna’s vision and wishes.

OBBG Trustees

“Donating to OBBG is a lifeline in so many ways.”

“Donating to OBBG is a lifeline in so many ways.” That is the message from Anna Sarphie, a founding member and trustee of OBBG, who outlines in this video the difference OBBG makes to patients’ lives and also points out how crucial it is to raise funds to keep the charity going.

This video message was recorded just a few months before, very sadly, Anna died. The video may be upsetting to some however it shows Anna’s great passion and dedication to continuing the help and support that OBBG offers to breast cancer patients.

Tributes to Anna Sarphie – sent with love from all her friends and colleagues at OBBG

“I am sure you would all agree that Anna lived her life fully until the last day! She has certainly taught me a lesson on ‘how to live’.

“When I went to see her before Christmas, her enthusiasm to collect pictures, videos and make memories was heartening and she was doing that all from her bed (she had managed to work her way to surpass her mobility restrictions).

“She was so grateful that she was able to spend another Christmas with her family.

“We will remember her fondly. She has left a legacy of patient support group behind at OBBG (she was the co-founding member of OBBG) and as many of you know, her passion towards emotional and psychological support for cancer patients was unmatched.

Salute to her spirit and the life she lived.”

Professor PG Roy

“I am so sorry to hear this very sad news.  I know that Anna will be sadly missed by so many, she was a such a passionate and wonderful person who touched so many lives, mine included.”

Jenny Grove, OBBG Trustee

“Anna was a founding member of OBBG and did so much, with such positivity, for breast cancer charities.  She supported those around her who suffer with this awful disease.

I wish comfort to her sons and her family, to all who knew her.  She really did live a life that mattered.  I have copied below the wonderful poem by Michael Josephson for those who want to read it.”

Karen MacKenzie, OBBG Treasurer

“I was so grateful that PG informed us all so quickly. I knew it would happen, but there is a sense of emptiness about what should be a lovely day celebrating St. David. I shall be at Keble Chapel this evening and will light a candle for her and do the RIPs.

“Anna was one of the leading lights of our experience of distancing with COVID but still doing Bruce’s class. I know she made a difference to a lot of lives then. She was truly a remarkable woman and I hope it may be possible to have some sort of memorial meeting in her honour, perhaps one Saturday up at the Manor? And perhaps some fund-raising for a memorial lecture or some kind of annual get-together in her memory?

“My love to everybody and particular condolences to her family members: she was so proud of them.”

Joy Crispin Wilson, OBBG member

“When I joined OBBG as a ‘newbie’ administrator two years ago, your guidance and advice were a great help as I got to grips with a new charity. Overall, you were wonderful to work with as a founding member and trustee of OBBG; and I wish I had met you in person more than just once. You were interested in other people and your tireless campaigning for greater awareness of breast cancer and support for patients with breast cancer was impressive – even when you were, at times, feeling so poorly.

“A truly remarkable woman that will never be forgotten. Your spirit lives on through our work at Oxford Breast Buddy Group (OBBG).”

Sarah Holmes, OBBG Administrator

“Thank you for sharing the sad news, I often wondered how Anna was doing having chatted to her with the online mindfulness group. She certainly showed great courage during the long treatments she endured I am full of admiration for everything she achieved whilst battling with her cancer. Please pass on my deepest sympathy to her loved ones.”

Jo Lennards, OBBG member

“My message for Anna: Thank you for all your support for OBBG.  Getting to know you in mindfulness reduced my fear – there is always hope, especially when you have the desire to be there for loved ones.  You were a shining example of living and dying well with cancer. I will never forget you. 

Much love


Ali dos Santos, OBBG member

“Such sad news. What an amazing person. She has touched so many of our hearts.

Best wishes, Janette.”

Janette Mills, OBBG member

What will matter?

Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant
Even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant.

So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.

Author: Michael Josephson [chosen by Karen]

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