Laura blogs about her mum Helen’s illness and why she was inspired to fund raise in her memory.
I’m fundraising for Anthony Nolan in memory of my mum, Helen. She was the bravest most inspiring woman I have ever met.
A devastating diagnosis
My mum was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia on the 3rd of December 2013. It was stumbled across when she had some routine bloods taken so was a complete shock. We were all devastated as you can imagine.
She was taken straight into hospital and started chemotherapy. She lost her hair and got an awful rash, but not one day did she ever moan or cry. We kept being told that she had 17% chance of surviving. It was so overwhelming.
A stem cell transplant gave her a chance
She was finally able to come home on New Year’s Day, but we only got two weeks with her before she had to return to hospital for a second cycle of chemotherapy. It worked well but she needed a stem cell transplant to have any chance at saving her life.
That’s when I found out about Anthony Nolan and the amazing work they do to help people who were in the same situation we were. Me and my brother both signed up to the register straight away and asked everyone else we know to sign up.
Luckily, we didn’t need to wait to find out if there was a match for her on the register because my mum’s sister was a match and more than willing to donate her stem cells. After another dose of chemotherapy, my mum had her transplant on 26th March 2014. I can’t even imagine how bad she felt, seeing her like that was terrible enough, but she continued to soldier on with a brave face. It was inspiring to watch. The transplant went well, and she was able to come home on Good Friday.
Memories I will cherish forever
She was like a newborn baby – her immune system was almost zero – but she got stronger. Things were looking promising but sadly, only months later the cancer came back. My mum only survived a few more weeks after this news, but not before we had one last amazing holiday together as a family, memories I will cherish forever.
She had many hurdles in her tough fight and leapt over each one taking everything in her stride. I have never been so proud or in awe of anyone as I was watching how strong my angel mum was in that nine months.
I decided that I wanted to do something every year in her memory. I follow Anthony Nolan on Twitter and I see all the stories of people, and I’ve been in that situation myself, so I thought I’d like to help.
Why I’m fundraising for Anthony Nolan
I recently organised a charity night on my mum’s birthday. We had a DJ, my dad did some food and we did a raffle. I was nervous that no-one was going to come, so I was really happy when so many people turned up. Most of the people there knew me and my mum, and a few of them brought friends. People from work came to support me as well which was really nice. That’s what I wanted – because it was her birthday I just wanted everyone to be together.
My top tips for fundraising are to be cheeky, keep it fun and remember why you’re doing it. Everywhere I go, I just ask for donations! People are a lot kinder than you think.
It’s nice fundraising for Anthony Nolan, reading the other stories, you feel connected to people you don’t know. It’s a special charity. I’ve been in that situation, and it’s a desperate situation. It’s awful when you feel like there’s no hope.
Although my mum lost her battle, we got to keep her a few more precious months, so I would like more families in my situation to also be this lucky. And hopefully, with more research, not lose their loved ones at all. It’s the least I can do.
Finally, I’d like to thank my dad and brother for all their ongoing support.
If you’d like to support Anthony Nolan in memory of someone special and would like to find out more, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0303 303 3002.