‘Daisy Lodge is like a slice of heaven’
As we approach Mother’s Day we spoke to one inspirational partner and mum, Gillian Arnott from Comber. Gillian’s is mum to Sophie (14) and Smyth (8). Her partner Neil was diagnosed with kidney tumour in November 2015.
“My partner Neil was larger than life. He was just a lovely gentle giant. Neil had kidney stones on and off from when he was 19 years old, and we
thought he had them again. Then we found out he had a tumour in his kidney. At that stage we hadn’t mentioned cancer to the kids because we thought Neil would get his kidney removed and he would be grand.
Three months later at the first scan we found out the cancer was in his liver and lung. Once we knew his cancer was terminal we sat down and told Sophie and Smyth.
Neil was an aircraft contractor so he would have worked away for 6 weeks at a time. After his diagnosis he was at home which was brilliant for the kids. He was on immunotherapy and keeping well. We were just so lucky to have that time with him.
Cancer Fund for Children’s, Cancer Support Specialist Gareth came out to meet us. He told us about the charity’s therapeutic short break centre Daisy Lodge in Newcastle. The kids and I went there with Neil twice and he just loved it.
Daisy Lodge is like a slice of heaven whenever you are going through hell. Everybody who works there is so special and we were able to create some some magical memories together. Our story ends badly but during those 15 months we had lots of happy times. We got to meet Gareth, we got to go to Daisy Lodge. We bought a touring caravan and we were doing things as a family.
Two years on, Gareth continues to provide individual support to Smyth. Since his Dad has died I think Smyth lacks a positive male influence in his life and Gareth is an amazing support to him.
We still have our moments and that will never change but the gaps between those moments get bigger in between.
Neil died on Monday 20th February 2017. We took part in the Winter Woolly Walk in Tollymore Forest Park the following Saturday in his memory and we raised £3,000. Now we take part in the Winter Woolly Walk every year to remember Neil.”
This Mother’s Day we are calling on Supermums to help other mums and children, like Gillian, Sophie and Smyth, whose lives have been impacted by cancer. Could you take part in one of our fundraising events or even host your own event. Find out more here.