Part of the family
Lisa didn’t know much about blood cancer before her son Hugo was diagnosed with leukaemia. But this year she had the chance to make a difference to other families in a similar situation when Hugo featured in September’s blood cancer awareness campaign.
“Hugo was only two when he was diagnosed with blood cancer. It was a huge and overwhelming thing for all of us. Me, my husband and older son, Henry, were all so desolate that little Hugo had such a huge battle in front of him.
“But I’m a mum. And you just have to get on with it. So that’s what I did.
“I tried to stay strong – I still try and stay strong – even though it seems unreal at times. The early days of Hugo’s treatment were a whirlwind of busyness and by the time it ended we were all exhausted.
“Our lives had changed too. I found myself having conversations with my nine-year-old, Henry, about blood cells and death. That was something I never imagined I would ever do! I think both my children have lost part of a normal childhood, which is very sad.
“Before Hugo became ill, I’d never heard of Bloodwise and knew almost nothing about blood cancer. But then his nursery held a fundraising fun day to raise money and Bloodwise were so kind and helpful. They provided teddy bears and T-shirts for the children and I started to use their information and online support, and began writing a blog for their website.
“There is a warmth about Bloodwise. It’s a nice easy relationship, the chance to have lots of conversations. We learn a lot from each other.
“When asked to be an Ambassador I was flattered and pleased. I’m so grateful for everything they have done in terms of research. Without it Hugo would not be alive today.
“There is a passion in the charity, which I share, that while four out of five patients will survive blood cancer, for as long as there is one patient who doesn’t make it, they’ll keep going.
“As an Ambassador I am encouraged, supported and inspired by the stories of struggles and strength I hear from others. It’s very humbling. Everyone works so hard for everyone else; we all want to make the best of a bad situation.
“Last year Hugo was chosen to be the face of Blood Cancer Awareness Month. I saw his face on the Tube and thought, ‘That’s my son!’ I felt the shock of blood cancer all over again and hoped that people would text a donation because of his little face. He’s an amazing little boy.
“And he’s doing really well. He started school in September, part-time. He’s starting to walk better without a frame: the routine of school is really helping his walking. He’s shy, but growing in confidence and he really enjoys it. It still breaks my heart if I see him struggling to keep up with his friends or getting upset, but that’s normal for all mums, isn’t it?
“As for me, I’ll carry on helping people to understand how shattering and different blood cancer is. I’d like every patient to have the support of an Ambassador as well as medical care and treatment. It makes such a difference when you know that the person you are speaking with understands your experience. It’s a privilege to be able to help.”
Bloodwise provides information and support for anyone affected by blood cancer. Our Support Line is open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.
CONTACT OUR SUPPORT LINE TEAM