15/01/2019 06:00 GMT | Updated 15/01/2019 06:00 GMT

Mum With Terminal Cancer Cheered By Parcel Of Dresses Before She Died

“That little act of generosity made a very difficult time a little brighter for all of us."

One family dealing with their mum’s terminal cancer diagnosis found a ray of light in the unlikeliest of places: the clothing company Joe Browns.

Tracy Bosworth, 44, took to Facebook last week to publicly thank a member of staff called Emily Nice who sent her mother-in-law Karen a package of dresses to bring her joy during a difficult time. Karen sadly passed away in August 2018, but Tracy wrote on Facebook that now felt like the right time to share this act of kindness with others. 

Karen only discovered her love of the store after her cancer diagnosis – and, according to Tracy, fell head over heels for its clothes. “Maybe with limited time left, she wanted to treat herself and feel fabulous,” said Tracy, who is in a relationship with Karen’s son Duncan.

“Maybe there was an element of looking wonderful to give herself inner strength too – like we power dress to help us feel confident for a job interview. Maybe she realised that – illness or no illness – life is always too short to deny ourselves the little pleasures that make us smile.”

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Tracy Bosworth
Karen wearing her new dresses. 

Karen was diagnosed with cancer in December 2017 and knew immediately the prognosis wasn’t good. That Christmas was tough for the family, but Karen remained endlessly positive. “She’d had her 60th birthday the month before her diagnosis so was far too young for any of this to seem fair,” said Tracy. 

“She just decided to focus on enjoying the time she had left. ‘Making memories’ was her favourite phrase at the time. Well, that and eating as much chocolate as possible.”

Karen’s health began to decline quickly in 2018. During this time, Tracy emailed staff at Joe Browns asking if they might brighten her day by sending a card or a little something to make her smile.

She didn’t expect a reply, but ended up receiving a lovely response from an aptly-named employee called Emily Nice.

Emily penned a letter to Karen and personally picked out three of the brand’s upcoming season’s dresses that she thought would best suit her. 

“The package arrived at a perfect time,” said Tracy. “We live in Northamptonshire and Karen and Dave (her husband) live in Scotland, which made the whole situation so much harder, with everyone travelling back and forth as much as possible.

“Karen and Dave had just been to visit us all down south and I think we all knew that it was unlikely Karen would be able to make the journey again, so saying goodbye and travelling up north again must have been very difficult for her.”

When Karen arrived back home, the package was waiting for her. “A few tears were shed on the day she received the surprise package,” Tracy said. “That little act of generosity made a very difficult time a little brighter for all of us.

“It’s silly really. Clothes are just clothes, but Karen really did get a boost from looking so glamorous and beautiful in her final months. When she wasn’t wearing Joe Browns’ clothes, she was sitting around in super-glamorous silk pyjamas, or with a scarf draped stylishly around her neck.”

Tracy said she bought herself a Joe Browns dress to wear to her funeral. “I think that would have made her giggle,” she added.

HumanKind is HuffPost’s celebration of kindness, featuring people who do incredible things for others or the planet – transforming lives through small but significant acts. Get involved by joining us on Facebook or telling us about the people who you think deserve recognition for their kind works. You can nominate them here or share your personal story by emailing natasha.hinde@huffpost.com