'The Stell Bell' and the legacy left behind Karina Stell, author of the memoir 'Life Interrupted'

April 28th, 2021

By Elisabeth Sophia



We named the 'Stell Bell' after our mum, Karina Stell, passed away from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2018.

The plaque on the bell was written by Mum and says:

‘This bell is here for our patients to mark the end of treatment. The sound of the bell is to inspire courage, hope and endurance in those still undergoing treatment.’

Mum sourced it from a shipyard and donated it to the Prince of Wales haematology ward during her first year of treatment in 2014. It’s since been moved and sits proudly in the Nelune Cancer Centre. 

Mum’s year of chemotherapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was brutal. In that first year alone, she went through hell. But the hardest part was watching her spirit tire and her hope diminish each time she was readmitted to the ward for infections and complications. 

Each day we would sit with her, and she would tell us about the people she had met on the ward in the evenings after we had gone home. She would share some of their stories, their diagnoses and how deeply saddened she felt at their collective pain, fear and isolation now plucked from a world they each once knew.

I remember Mum telling me that she had decided to buy a bell for the ward. The bell was for patients to ring on their final day of treatment and the chiming of the bell through the ward would inspire courage, strength and hope for those still fighting - that this would be them too one day and that these days and nights would pass. 

On the 22nd July, 2014, Mum was the very first to ring it.

My sisters and I have heard countless stories of how this bell has helped so many people over the years, seen photos of their beaming faces as they ring it, and heard of so many more bells being mounted in hospitals and treatment centres all over the country since.

Mum’s memoir, Life Interrupted highlights the importance of compassion and humanity in cancer treatment. We are so proud that even during her darkest days, she was able to find a way to demonstrate how important this truly is, helping so many others on their journey long after her passing.

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Tags: memoir, author, mental health

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