A mother has spoken out about how her little girl’s battle with cancer made her appreciate her own life all the more, as part of a campaign that shines a light on the impact of the disease on families.
‘I always knew it’s important to smile and remember the good times, but I never really consciously did it,’ Lorraine wrote on the Humans of Dublin Facebook page.
‘You start filling your memory bank with good memories and you just live off that later, because when you’re watching the doctor drawing an arrow from your daughter’s left knee down to her foot, you have nothing else to hold on to. You take one minute at a time, sometimes just one breath at a time.’
Recalling vividly the bravery of Caoimhe, who was sitting up in the bed, she wrote: ‘She wasn’t going into surgery lying down… I watched my daughter take her first steps two times; both of those days will be forever imprinted in my mind.
‘We may have had to say goodbye to her left foot, but she’s still here with us on a journey to creating more good times for our memory bank.’
She is one of the many families who shared their stories on the community website in the last week to raise awareness of childhood cancer.
Alice’s mother, cradling her daughter, recalled how their world was shattered when she was diagnosed with leukaemia aged just two – and continued her treatment until she was five.
‘It was gruelling. We had to stay strong around her, but often it was extremely hard to control our emotions. I used to go down the corridor to a small little bathroom and cry there a lot. The bathroom smelt of hibiscrub, a pink liquid antibacterial soap. Whenever I smell it now it throws me back to that time.
‘A complete stranger’s blood had been donated to save my little girl. That person will never know what they did, who they saved and how grateful we are. I don’t think people realize how often patients need blood and the difference it can make. I will be forever grateful to that person who helped save my daughter’s life.’
Others weren’t as lucky, as the parents of five-year-old little Aoife, seen sitting alone on a park bench, show.
The couple wrote of their experience: ‘This Thursday her dad brought her to the village, parked on the street and ran into a shop on the corner and came back carrying a bunch of pink roses.
‘He could tell before reaching the car that her eyes had lit up. He then brought her to the Grand Hotel, drove her around the grounds and told her she would be married there one day.
‘The ever-romantic Aoife brimmed with the thrill of such a thought. On their return she wasn’t even out of the car when she shouted: ”Look mum!” Gesturing to the brunch of roses in her hands.
‘Her smile was infectious. We had no idea that our little fantasy world was about to end. Within 6 hours our Aoife lay lifeless before us. She was only 5-years-old.
‘Childhood cancer stole our darling and ripped out our hearts. One moment we were talking about the future, and that evening she had none, and ours has changed forever.’
Another family spoke about how their gorgeous Charlotte had done everything to fight her cancer and talked about how they chose palliative care chemo for her final days.
‘In September she would start playschool, and she loved every minute of it. On a good day she would spend hours outside in the garden playing. If she wished for three different meals for lunch, she got it. If she wanted to eat chicken wings at 10 pm I made it for her.
‘In December 2013 we had new hope; the scan showed the disease had reduced to just a shadow, unfortunately, this was short-lived, and in January it had switched back on. We tried other combinations of chemo, but from January to March Charlotte grew weaker, and her last scan showed it had progressed rapidly to her whole body.
‘On the 18th of April we bought her home for the last time. In my possession I had a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Order for my beautiful 5-year-old daughter. Our only goal was to keep her pain-free.
‘Charlotte died 10 days later, 28th April 2014. Grief will never leave me, I know that. It will always be a big ball in my chest. Only life grows around it and I will have to learn how to live with the triggers around me and how they remind me of her. I shared our story in hope of awareness of the importance of funding the research of this horrible disease.’
Humans of Dublin partnered with Childhood Cancer Foundation, a volunteer parent led charity founded by families of children with cancer, in a series which looks at those affected by childhood cancer to raise awareness in the fight against the disease.
The charity aims to raise awareness of the devastating impact childhood cancer has on the families. CCF tries to ease the burden on children in treatment for cancer by funding services at St John’s Ward at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin where 1200 children affected by cancer are treated each year.
A medic who treats childhood cancer concluded the series saying that it is ‘a humble privilege it is to be a doctor.’
If you’d like to donate to the Childhood Cancer Foundation, just click here.
Read the original article on Evoke.