When you become a parent you are aware that having a healthy baby is a blessing not everyone receives. You know some kids and their parents have horrible situations to navigate, with some not making it at all. However, you also know that the percentages are in your favour, and you take it for granted you’re the lucky ones who don't have to deal with these terrible things. That's not to say you're not aware, or you don't care. You watch Children in Need, sobbing, texting in cash - trying to help in any way you can but, and we can say this in hindsight, you're still relatively ignorant to the reality of these situations.
That's where we were 10 months ago, and then we became that tiny percentage.
It goes without saying that nothing can prepare you for that moment. From what we can recall the Doctors handled it pretty well. The first day the message is ‘it is likely something viral’ and they're doing tests. By the second day the message changes subtly to the idea that it might not be viral and it might be something more serious - the seed is sown, you wonder what denotes 'serious' but fear the worst?. By the third day they're telling you that your joyful 2.5yr old has Cancer; specifically Leukaemia. It was on 25th September that our amazing little Jessica was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia). Terrifying, life-shattering and completely unbelievable.
A lot has happened since then. The world is not the same. Luckily you have brilliant friends and family to help you on your way - you also have Charities. These Charities may not even be that well known but they are quickly by your side offering help and assistance. You'll already have seen some amazing friends and family raising money for Clic Sargent and now we want to do the same for Momentum.
Our first encounter with Momentum was at the Hospital. They decorate rooms and provide a dedicated Oncology playroom to help make the experience of being in hospital a little more bearable. It sounds silly but sitting with a toddler in a decorated room with lots to talk about makes a real difference to what is usually a stressful stay. At this point it's worth mentioning that in the 9 months since Jess' diagnosis we've probably been admitted to hospital for somewhere in the region of 12 weeks (probably more!) and there are families who are admitted much more than us.
Beyond their work at the hospital they have a canal boat that we can book out, skippered by volunteers. They've also provided music therapy for Jess which she has enjoyed immensely. We're soon off to their cabin in the New Forest for a bit of a break and, dare I say it, a trip to Peppa Pig World!
So, Kate, Jessica and I are asking for your help. We're looking at a big target of £8.5k to fund a new room. We don't really know how we're going to get to that figure right now but we know we need to start, and we know it will rely on our amazing friends, colleagues and family.
Thank you all so much in advance.
Kieran, Kate & Jessica