23rd September 2020
Laura’s gran, Ellen, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in July 2015. It was a Sunday – the day of the week known as ‘Gran’s Day’ in their family. Every Sunday, the whole gang - mothers, uncles, siblings and cousins galore – would go to Ellen’s where they’d be welcomed with tea, coffee and juice alongside her famous fruit bread and butter. She loved having them there, and they loved being there.
And it wasn’t just Sundays. When Laura was old enough, she made it her rite of passage to join her mum and gran on their trip-to-town tradition every Saturday morning. They’d meet at the bank, go for a ‘wee cuppy’ and half a cake, then spend the afternoon in M&S. Then, when Laura got a part-time job, her gran would always look in to give her a wave.
But that particular Sunday in July, there was no cake and there were no stories. Instead, Ellen sat the family down and told them all that she hadn’t been feeling very well – that she had cancer.
“I remember my ears ringing as she said the words. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t believe it. This didn’t happen to us, Gran. She’d just been in York for a weekend away with mum and my auntie, but that was Gran; always making a fuss of you, not the other way around.
“The next few months were too hard to bear. Hospital appointments, chemo, and ‘it’s not working’. But in a time of great heartbreak, we had something to celebrate too; my little sister, Roxanne, was getting married.
“This gave Gran focus as Roxanne would be getting married in the church she dedicated her life to – the church she had married Gramps in, the church where Mum married Dad, the church I see from my window every morning.
“But sadly Gran didn’t make it to the wedding. She passed away on May 20th, 2016, missing Roxanne’s wedding by just a few weeks. As I walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid that day though and touched the seat she always sat in, I knew she was there.
“My gran was only little, but she left such a big hole in our lives. This is why I stand with Worldwide Cancer Research - for everyone who wishes they could nip round to their grans on a Sunday. Together we can start new cures for cancer and save the lives of the people we love.”
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