You always believe your child will grow up to be either a nurse, a doctor or in fact anything their heart desires. Emily wanted nothing more than to be a mum – from a very young age in fact! Thinking back, when her younger brother Matthew came along; she was smitten and from that day forth, being a mother herself was all Emily really wanted in life. As she stumbled through the years, a typical toddler and an even more typical teenager, Emily’s dream of becoming a mother never faltered.
We moved to Perth (Western Australia) in 2012 as a family, just wanting a better life for our kids. Emily thrived and when she turned 18 she landed her first job in the local Irish Bar. Within 2 years she had worked so hard to become the assistant manager of the local Golf Club Bar and Bistro.
Emily moved into her own house close to work and met a young man, they very quickly became boyfriend and girlfriend. The life Emily had worked so hard for, and rightly deserved, had just started and everything looked so exciting for her – she was loving and living life to the full.
Within in a blink of an eye, our world came crashing down around us. Emily suffered her first, of numerous seizures. She was eventually operated on and diagnosed with Brain Cancer – an Astrocytoma grade 3 wild gene brain tumour. As a result, Emily moved back home (and brought her boyfriend along too) so we could care for her through her treatment.
Emily had 33 rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and decided she would have an operation in order to store her eggs, so in the future she could realise her dream of becoming a mum. Tragically, after 6 months of gruelling daily chemo, Emily was diagnosed as terminally ill.
Emily’s boyfriend proposed and a huge wedding was very quickly arranged by amazing friends and total strangers. The date was set and Emily was so happy and so in love, nothing could spoil her big day; but Emily was rushed back into surgery for yet another life saving operation – she didn’t want it because she didn’t think she would be able to walk down the isle. It took a call from a world renowned surgeon to explain if she didn’t have the surgery by the end of the week, she wouldn’t make the wedding.
So, a week before the wedding Emily was recovering in hospital when she received a text from her boyfriend, basically saying he didn’t love her anymore and the wedding was off. Emily was completely devastated, but in typical Emily style she gave herself a few days and decided she wanted to move back to the U.K. to die with family and friends around her.
Within in a few months we had put the house up for sale, sold everything we had and even had to re-home our beloved dogs. The pain we were all going through was indescribable, and we couldn’t wait to get on that plane but life had one more kick in the teeth – just for good measure!
Matthew, my youngest and Emily’s little brother, was diagnosed with a tumour. It was a week before we were due to fly back to the U.K. so treatment wasn’t an option at that point however, back home Matthew had his treatment and is fit and healthy with no lasting health issues.
We arrived back in the UK and due to the current economic/financial climate we subsequently found ourselves homeless, but thankfully the local housing was able to provide us accommodation.
Throughout all this Emily was having daily chemo and trying to live what life she had life left to the fullest. She cared more about how other people were feeling and always had a smile, a hug and a wise word for everyone. She was so strong, caring, funny and a true inspiration to everyone who met her.
Emily once said to me that she was one of the lucky ones, I could never understand what she meant.
It’s been 18 months since our angel left us and not a day goes by we don’t miss her beautiful smile and amazing humour. But I now know what she meant, she was lucky to have had 24 wonderful, happy, loving years with people who genuinely loved and cherished her.
Sadly this isn’t the case for everyone, especially when they’ve been diagnosed with brain cancer. It’s indiscriminate – a brain tumour doesn’t care about age; in fact more people under the age of 40 die from brain cancer than any other cancer. Yet it has only 1% of funding for research – this has to change.
Emily was here for a reason, it may not be to find a cure for cancer but she can make a difference to everyone’s journey. Everyone in some way, puts on WARPAINT – either at work, at home, socialising and when we most need it, a fight for life.
“Everyone in some way puts on WARPAINT – either at work, at home, socialising and when we most need it; a fight for life.”