“We’re going to need something magical if we’re going to get through this.”

“We’re going to need something magical if we’re going to get through this.”

“We’re going to need something magical if we’re going to get through this.”

 

This Mother’s Day we’re celebrating the mothers, grandmothers and daughters who have supported each other during and beyond cancer treatment.

 

At the age of one, Lorraine was diagnosed with brain damage and has since lived with a number of life-changing conditions, including epilepsy, hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy, alongside visual and hearing impairments.

 

Mum, Lynda has to support Lorraine at every stage and over the years they have developed an incredible bond, which has only been strengthened by their positive approach to life.

 

In 2018, their positivity was to be tested even further when Lorraine, at the age of 44, was told the devastating news that she had cancer.

 

Recalling the news, mum Lynda commented:

“When they said it was cancer we were devastated and said: for goodness sake, why her? She’s had everything thrown at her.

 

“The doctor was upset as she told us and said: I can’t believe I have to tell you this after everything she’s been through.”

 

For the last twelve years, Lorraine has received specialist care for a pre-cancerous condition known as Vulval intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), which causes abnormal cells to develop in the surface layers of the skin. The cancer can take years to develop – as shown in Lorraine’s case.

 

For seven weeks, five-days-a-week, Lorraine and her family travelled over 28 miles a day to Weston Park Cancer Centre, so that she could access potentially life-saving radiotherapy treatment. Throughout treatment, Lynda and Lorraine have been supported by their wider family network, including dad, Alan, sister, Cheryl, brothers, Mitchell, Michael and Robert and aunt, Kath. Due to Lorraine’s visual impairment, she is unable to drive or attend appointments alone, so everyone has rallied together as drivers and escorts to ensure she was safely able to attend her appointments.

 

“Coping with cancer can be difficult, but when you have a disability, it can be even more challenging.”

 

“Lorraine can be told something and what’s going to happen, and then that’s it. She’ll just get on with it. She can only take on board what she understands – everything else you can just do what you want with.

 

“She’ll understand: I’ve got cancer, and though I don’t quite know what that is, I know it’s serious and I’ve got to go and have this treatment. But obviously for everyone else, we knew what it meant and how poorly the treatment can make you feel.”

 

Speaking of their approach to parenting, Lynda commented:

 

“We’ve always been positive. When we received the news we just said: we’ve got to get on with it. It’s just another chapter, so we’ll see what this chapter writes and see what it brings.”

 

“We’re going to need something magical if we’re going to get through this.”

 

Throughout her treatment Lorraine had a ‘therapy buddie’ in the shape of a unicorn called Magical Maggie, who travelled with her to every appointment:

 

“Lorraine truly believed that it was a magical unicorn who would take the cancer away.” commented Lynda.

 

 

On 31st May 2018, it was finally Lorraine’s turn to ring the end of treatment bell – a moment she had been waiting for since the start of treatment. Knowing that Lorraine had brought Magical Maggie to every treatment, staff made sparkly unicorn headbands for everyone to wear on her last day of treatment and this symbolic occasion was made even more magical.

 

Finally, after three months of illness and recovery, following her final treatment, her sister Cheryl cordially invited Lorraine to a Disney tea party – yet another testament to their incredible strength and determination to celebrate life and face every situation with positivity.

 

Widening their support network

 

Lynda’s family have shown incredible strength and determination in the face of adversity, but she also recognises the vital importance of seeking out help at times when it’s needed most:

 

“The support at Weston Park and Cancer Information Centre is second to none. I would advise anyone to visit. If ever we were near we’d just pop in and have a natter and chat.

 

“You don’t need to book – you can literally just walk in and say: can have a cup of tea I feel rubbish.

 

“You can tell them anything. It doesn’t always have to be about the actual cancer. Sometimes you don’t want to talk about that. You get tired of everything being about cancer. Some days we get up and say; can we just not mention cancer today.”

 

How can Weston Park help you?

If you have been effected by cancer or any of the issues raised in this story and you’d like to speak to someone about the support Weston Park Cancer Charity can offer; contact our team of expert healthcare professionals for free, confidential advice on 0114 226 5666 or visit www.cancersupportcentre.co.uk