12 August 2018


Mum wanted any discussion of cancer and its effects to be talked about openly and with everyone, as you are about to find out below. It is personal to everyone in one sense, but some of it should also be public, as we were/are convinced that helps people in it and who might encounter it.

She fought every inch of the way until Saturday 7th July 2018. It is 3 years, almost, since mum’s diagnosis. But, from the first, mum, was determined that she would tell the cancer what to do, not the other way round. She made the top 2% of survival time from diagnosis to (hard to say this, but it is the word) death. 


There are really no words to describe my closeness with my mother. I know this because the slow, agonizing decline of cancer forces even the most optimistic and hopeful to think about and plan for this day. And as such, you start thinking about what you might say during a time like this. And after unsuccessfully putting pen to paper several times, I realized that there really are no words.

There are only feelings, indescribable feelings. Feelings that make my heart burst and my whole being melt. Because my mother was my insides. She is my insides. My guts. My confidence. My bravery and my strength. My sensitivity, my compassion, my loyalty and even my laughter.
She was everything. 

How incredibly strong was she? Did I know anyone stronger? She never gave up; she put her entire being into raising my brother and I, staying strong, positive and gave as good as she could when life challenges came at her full-speed. It can’t of been easy for her. 

And this is why, when mum was sick and most concerned about how her willingness to fight would impact Daniel, Alex and I, we tried several times to convince her that those lessons had already been taught, the wisdom imparted. But she continued to worry and concern herself mostly with how we would handle this—how we would move forward after this devastating loss. The toll it would take and the tears we would cry….

If I had to conjure up a couple of life lessons that she would want me to carry for the rest of my life, they are these: Never be afraid to fight for your rights, and don't let anybody tell you can't achieve what you want. She believed in me, and was always there along the way.

Mum was my best friend. I probably never fully appreciated this until I went into my twenties, and then thirties. I took her friendship for granted at times, and when I was a teenager, I don’t think I made her life that easy! However she was always in my corner, even when she wasn’t sure if she agreed on the decisions I was making. She always had time for my wonderful friends, putting up with our taste in music, girly squeals and drunken antics, and then, as we got older, she would always be on hand to dish out any life advice that was needed. She welcomed them in to our home with open arms and a shoulder to lean on whenever they were around, and in particular my best friend, Katie who I know she saw as a second daughter and who she loved dearly. 

Her love for my brother and I was unbreakable. We were the three musketeers, taking on what life threw at her, and protecting us from the challenges as much as she could. When the wonderful Alex came into her life, it’s safe to say she’d found her soulmate. Their love is unconditional, and is something I’ve been so inspired by in my relationships with friends and my husband, James over the years. 

And then, almost 3 years ago the worst news we could all receive, and although it was totally devastating to us, mums strength, determination and positive attitude shone through. What she endured when my brother and I were growing up, definitely made her the superwoman she was. She never once complained in those 3 years, getting on with life and keeping an eye on Daniel, Alex and I whilst we kept an eye on her. The day before she passed away, she had replaced the house number outside, and painted around it, showing it off to my nan. She never gave up on daily admin such as housecleaning, even though Alex would try to make her slow down! I’ll always remember calling her one afternoon, when she was around halfway through a set of chemo, for her to answer the phone and say “I can’t talk right now, I’m just behind the wardrobe giving the wall a wash and paint” my mother everyone, an unstoppable force! And on the day she passed away, she was literally fighting to the end, her grip as we held her hands strong as ever. Something I’ll never forget. A total legend.

Speaking of legends, throughout this time, the wonderful Alex has been a hero. Looking after mum (or as much as mum would let him look after her!) every single day. Picking my brother and I off the ground and onto our feet whenever we had a little ‘wobble’. Being there for us, and most importantly mum, his queen. My husband James is another hero, and was there by my side when mum passed away, gripping her hand at times to reassure her I’d be looked after. 

I also want to give a HUGE HUGE shout out to all the consultants, nurses, radiographers, Doctors, Junior Doctors and Macmillan staff who have been totally awesome throughout the whole process - I count our blessing each day that we have such an amazing NHS. They have been totally amazing, and really helped my mum. 

Mum, thank you for everything you have done for the family and me. I know that you struggled with your health, but you were the victor. You fought cancer and were so determined throughout. You were a great example for all of us. Even though you hurt inside mentally and physically, you put on a brave front and showed by example how to stay strong. I am proud of you. I am always proud to call you my Mum.

In closing, I would like to leave you with these words that a very dear friend sent me. The origin is unknown and is not important. The message is:

“Your Mum is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street. She’s the smell of certain foods that you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself. She’s the cool hand on your head when you are not feeling well. She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow. Your Mum lives inside your laughter and behind your smile. She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on Earth can separate you. Not time, not space... not even death.”


I hate asking for money, however we've had so many people ask if there's any way they can help, and there is a way...

We've set up a Just Giving Page for The Sussex Cancer Fund. The Sussex Cancer Fund was established in 1981 to work with the NHS to create new and improved facilities providing the best possible cancer care for Sussex. Since then, £3 million has been raised to make the Sussex Cancer Centre more attractive, comfortable and effective.

Unlike many charities, costs are exceptionally low with only a very small percentage spent on administration, almost all money donated can be spent directly to benefit the patients.

SCF have a wishlist filled with items that are needed everyday for people undergoing treatment. Denise used a number of these items each week during her chemotherapy. We would like to raise as much money as possible for them to purchase items, and other things that will help patients through their treatment. It astounds us that in this day and age that charities are still having to fundraise for items like these. 

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