A mother’s perspective on losing a child to cancer
In 2010 our 10 year old daughter developed a lump on the side of her face and was diagnosed with a Spindle Cell Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma. This is not something that any parent wishes to hear. When we heard the diagnosis we were totally numb and in disbelief.
Emma was a very intelligent young girl with an incredible crazy and happy-go-lucky side. She loved anything to do with family, enjoyed sports and was obsessed with all of the Harry Potter movies. Her favourite toy was a doll she named Ally, a gift she received when she was 6 months old. Ally went with Emma to every surgery and every treatment and also joined her on her final journey.
Emma endured countless surgeries and was put on about 14 different chemotherapy protocols with a total of 55 hits of radiation.
The greatest challenge I found as a mother was dividing my time between Emma and the rest of the family. My precious Emma needed all of my time and attention, but this would mean the rest of your family would miss out.
For almost three years my sole job was to make sure Emma was ok. Having to stay away in Brisbane was also hard, however, we were lucky in the fact that we were not too far away from our home on the Gold Coast and could travel back for weekends.
For three years Emma fought bravely but unfortunately lost her battle just after her 13th birthday. Those who knew Emma knew that everything she did in life was to help others and to make people laugh.
I would have to say that this was emotionally the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. The pressure and strain it puts, not only on the parents but the rest of the extended family as well, is hard to explain. Our lives were forever changed the day Emma was diagnosed. You can never go back to the way it was.
My life will never be the same. I gained a strength that I never knew I had but I would give all that away in a heartbeat to have Emma back.
Everyone at Childhood Cancer Support were so caring and really went out of their way to make you feel safe. They were so very open and happy to sit and chat, even when you knew they had lots to do.
Without the accommodation at Childhood Cancer Support we would have had nowhere to stay whilst Emma underwent her radiation treatment. When Emma was out of hospital for short periods she would sit out on the front verandah of our accommodation and say “hi” to everyone who walked past. She loved making people smile.
Please get behind the Send Hugs project and donate to keep these wonderful services running for families just like mine.
Leanne, mother of Emma Love.
Leanne and Stuart Love hold an annual fundraising motorcycle ride in memory of Emma called Ride For Love and are Gold Coast Family Ambassadors for Childhood Cancer Support.