In May 2007 my beautiful little four year old daughter Naomi was diagnosed with a 10cm x 10cm brain tumour – barely more than a mother’s instinct had made me take her to my local hospital and persuade them to check her out. Fortunately, being a member of staff there, they humoured me, none of us expected the diagnosis.
A fast track ambulance trip to Leeds started a journey that we are still on.
An emergency 13hr operation to save her life and debulk the tumour was followed by 15 mths of intensive, inpatient chemotherapy and two further operations. The last operation took half her sight, but that seemed a small price to pay.
During this time, her then 1 yr old sister was looked after by my wonderful parents and inbetween visits to hospital we made the most of our time together.
Since the end of 2008, Naomi has been in remission – nothing about Naomi’s future is ever mentioned by her consultant and at each six month scan, I register his surprise that she is still here and that the cancer has not yet returned. In some ways this normal/abnormal way of life is harder to deal with than the turmoil of the 18mths following her diagnosis when we were all fighting.
Having had her back from three operations, doubting I would have her back but having no choice but to kiss her goodbye as she was put to sleep – not knowing what I would get back – the thought of losing her is almost beyond comprehension despite so many close calls…..however she IS here and she is great and, as you know Luke, to the naked eye, nobody would know what she’s been through, what disability she’s been left with nor how fragile her future is.
So I hope you will be pleased that you have helped Naomi fulfil one of her wishes – to swim in a sea ‘sparkling like diamonds’!! And she did it a fair few times off a fair few beaches along your lovely coastline.
We are so grateful to you Luke as the founder of THHN and to all the generous participants – we wouldn’t have been able to afford to do half the things we did, if not for their kindess.
On arrival we took a free ride on the Babbacombe Cliff Railway and the girls dipped their feet in the sea, a great start!
Back to the Hotel De La Mer and trying to contain the girls’ excitment at our two rooms that you’d earlier shown us, and a delicious dinner – the girls felt like proper little princesses – it’s not quite the service they get in our caravan!
On Sunday, we had a great visit to the Babbacombe Model Village and viewed the 4D film which was all free, as was our very interesting visit to the Bygones Museum and Kents Caverns – brilliant experiences for all of us.
During the week we also went up in the Hi-Flyer (except for their dad!), went to Pennywell Farm, Woodlands Park, The Otter and Butterfly Sanctuary, explored the beautiful Cockington village and grounds, and enjoyed Hanbury’s fish and chips al fresco (Amy’s wish!).
The last day was spent at Preston Sands and we were so grateful for the use of the beach hut and boards – a magical experience. Knowing now the circumstances behind the hut makes my heart contract, so thank you – such generosity when the greatest loss has already been experienced, well it’s beyond words.
So thank you everyone for giving us happy memories, the girls are already creating a scrap book – this holiday was great, particularly as their dad has also been very ill and had to have half a lung removed three months ago – the hills of the ‘Riveria’ have been great rehab – who’d have thought it?!!!
I can see THHN is going from strength to strength, awesome.
And the intertwining stories – Alice and her amazing mug! Hannah and Sam carrying the torch for raising awareness and funding for brain tumours. Naomi too fronts a fund set up to finance research into this cruel disease.
Well done and good luck, and I hope with efforts like theirs, we can start to look to more than luck to secure our loved ones’ futures.
There are some great people out there!!
Love and best wishes Lucy, Mark, Naomi and Amy xx