My husband, John, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in Nov 2012, just 3 weeks after we found out I was pregnant with my 3rd daughter. Our other children Abi & Danni, were then just 3 & 1. John underwent his surgery in Jan 2013. September 2013 brought the end of John’s chemo and we thought that was it – we could get back to normal – how wrong we were…
After a snuffly baby refused to feed on one side, I took Jenni to the doctors to get some nose drops and in early Feb 2014, our world was turned upside down again when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
How has the Osborne Trust impacted on your family – what does it mean to you?
For our family it means normality has reared its head to the forefront of things again for a while. For our girls, it means they get to do things that normally we have to say no to, as we are not well enough to do an activity, can’t physically do it or can’t fit it in around hospital appointments.
My eldest girl (Abi) was 3 when our family started our cancer journey – she is now 6 – that means that for half of her short life, she has known disappointment - she’s not been able to go to places that normal families take for granted eg the park, without it becoming a major issue of having to ask family, neighbours and friends for support. She had started swimming lessons, we had to cancel them, as we couldn’t go in the water with her.
Danni (Danielle), our middle daughter was 1 when this all started, she is now 4 in, she has no memory of us not being ill or having multiple hospital appointments.
Jenni is 2. She has had just 5 months of being held by her mum. I have been unable to hold her much at all due to the impact of my multiple surgeries.
The Osborne Trust is amazing in the fact that they have given my children some respite and normality and allowed them to become children again – they have provided my children with Ozzy’s, the elephants are taken to bed every night and cuddled, they know that with Ozzy watching over them, they are being thought of and Ozzy will protect them if they’re scared. I’ve caught both Abi & Danni chatting to their Ozzy’s having conversations about things.
The Osborne Trust have enabled my children to go on a trip to the cinema, whilst I was in hospital to take their mind off stuff – the first time Danni has been! I got back from hospital to be told all about popcorn in a little box, a massive telly and a big red seat! Words can’t express how valued and special that time is – to know that you don’t have to worry that when you get home, your kids are in floods of tears as yet again you have broken a promise. That you’d be home after 2 sleeps, and then for one reason or another it’s been more like 5 sleeps. That you’d take them to a soft play centre at the weekend, but then weekend comes and you can’t get your head out of a bowl, as you are being sick so much. That you can’t just come outside to watch them on their bike, as the injections you’ve had to have, to up blood counts, have taken your legs from underneath you and yet again, you can’t physically walk.
The Osborne Trust, in my opinion, is definitely meeting a gap in support that isn’t provided elsewhere. This charity has had a positive impact on us and I’m sure the lives of other cancer sufferers with young children and I only wish I’d found out about the Osborne Trust earlier. A huge vote of thanks from the Fletcher household, in particular Abi, Danni & Jenni x