You Can’t Hide From This – #BloggersBeatingCancer

I remember when my mother phoned me at University to tell me the news. My grandmother, my amazing, strong and wonderfully kind Grandmother had cancer. The woman who had lived through the war, who had pledged her heart to a young soldier and awaited his return from the East. A lady that had travelled the world, worked in the Land Army and lived in far off countries was being beaten by cancer.

coqueambrosoli0 / Pixabay
My Mum explained that the cancer was very advanced. That we were looking at mere months before it swallowed this amazing woman. I couldn’t believe it. How could this have happened? Where had this horrible cancer come from?

It transpired that my head strong Grandmother had been hiding this secret from us for some time. There had been a growth on her leg for years and years. Always covered by a plaster. First a small one and then as time went by a larger one. She had known something wasn’t right. But too afraid to say anything she hid from reality. By the time she told anyone the melanoma was so large and advanced there was nothing to be done. Despite being seen by a specialist my grandmother and grandfather made the decision that they didn’t want to waste her last few months on fruitless treatment.

That was hard to hear. She didn’t want to fight. My gutsy Grandmother who had always fought for everything was giving up. Of course I understood why she couldn’t fight this. But I was so frustrated, why didn’t she say something earlier? Perhaps something could have been done.

I watched over those short months as she became frail. In next to no time she was in a bed downstairs. My parents and grandfather providing round the clock care. With some help from her amazing local GP and Macmillan nurses. The sparkle started to fade from her eyes. She desperately wanted to know whether I had been successful in gaining a place at nursing school. So proud that I was hoping to dedicate my life to such a worthwhile profession. I never got to tell her. She died two days after my 22nd birthday and a week before I found out that I had indeed been granted a place to study at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing.

jperani / Pixabay
I never got to introduce her to her two beautiful grandchildren. She would have loved them and them her. So many things I wish had asked her. How I wish I had learnt more about gardening from her. The regret that I never talked about what she did during war time, how she felt as a girl joining the Land Army. Or what it was like to have the love of your life so far away for so long, not knowing if he would return. But mostly I wish that I had just one more hug, one more moment to say I love you.

You can’t hide from cancer. It’s all around us. Nearly every family I meet has been touched by it. More research is needed, more awareness is essential. That is why #BloggersBeatingCancer is so important. Maybe just maybe one day we will live in a world where cancer doesn’t haunt families. Until then I shall be drinking coffee tomorrow at 10:30 with my fellow bloggers and raising as much cash as we can to help win the fight against cancer. Please donate here https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/bloggersbeatingcancer

Mumzilla

 

The Lily Mae Foundation

This is the first post in our Inspirational Parents series, this week our guest is Amy Jackson from The Lily Mae foundation. This is a charity close to my heart as its one of the ones that my Special Care Baby Unit work quite closely with and I was chuffed when Amy agreed to answer some of my interview questions, I will leave her to tell you a bit about how The Lily Mae Foundation began and what they are doing with all the money they raise.

 

LILY MAE FULL COLOUR LOGOTell me a bit about your amazing girl Lily Mae and her story;

Amy and Family
Amy and Family

Lily Mae was born on the 7th Feb 2010, she was our much longed for 2nd child. We didn’t know until we found out her heart had stopped that she was a girl. This was a bitter blow to us as we had a four year old boy at the time and had hoped for a little girl to complete our family. Lily Mae’s pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated and I was 36 +5 when we found out that her heart had stopped. I had noticed a lack of movements one day so went into be checked but unfortunately a scan revealed the sad news. I was sent home from hospital that Friday evening and asked to return 2 days later to be induced to deliver Lily. The day Lily was born will stay with me forever, I remember every tiny detail like it has been etched into my memory.

Who or what was your most important support network/mechanism

Following Lily’s birth I started receiving support from our local Sands (Still Birth and Neonatal Death Charity) group and met a really lovely girl who gave me great support in the early days. I also spent hours trawling the Internet and made another great friend virtually through a forum who had lost her little girl just before me and lived in Devon. We became great friends and having her going through it at the same time as me really helped. My friends and family were also amazing, they were there for me 24/7 and supported us as a family.

What would be your best piece of advice for other parents who are going through similar experiences 

Get support from other bereaved parents, they know exactly what you are going through and will be a great pillar of support and advice.

Why did you choose to set up the Lily Mae Foundation? 

We initially started fundraising by holding a Golf Day 12 weeks after we lost Lily to raise money for our local Sand’s who had supported us and also it was my husbands way of coping and keeping busy. After two years we then decided to go it alone so we could do exactly what we, or other parents, wanted with the money we had raised. I also wanted to start providing Memory Boxes as I felt that collecting Lily’s memories was so important. We had struggled to do this and source the things we wanted when under such time constraints.

Has it been tough returning to the hospitals where Lily Mae was cared for?

I found it very hard to go back to the hospital and luckily didn’t have to for a while. Eventually I had to go back to see a dentist, who found it very strange that I cried the whole time. I think she thought I was very scared of seeing her!!!

What has been your proudest moment since starting the charity?

Seeing how important our memory boxes and support for families is.

   .Memory box boy Lily Mae Foundation

What kind of fundraising have you been involved in for the Lily Mae Foundation?

We have held a Golf Day and Dinner Dance every year since losing Lily. We have just held the 7th Golf Day on April 8th 2016 at the Belfry where we had over 260 people attend and raised £11300; our most successful year yet.

Have you got any events this year that people could get involved in?

We run a Fun Run every year in Balsall Common, this year it’s on Sunday 25th Sep, entry is now open and you can apply here:  http://www.lilymaefoundation.org/funrun/

I would like to say a huge thank you to Amy for writing such honest answers, she is truly inspirational. Amy and The Lily Mae Foundation are doing a really great job at providing bereaved parents with a beautiful memory box, it doesn’t take the pain away but it gives them something to treasure while their hearts are breaking. If you would like to make a donation or get involved with The Lily Mae Foundation, please visit their website or click here to go to the justgiving page.

If you would like to know more about Sands you can find them online at https://www.uk-sands.org/ 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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