Beating bowel cancer together

How our community is marking Mother’s Day

Sunday 14 March 2021

While Mother's Day (Sunday 14 March 2021) can be a joyful experience for many, it can be an incredibly tough time for others, including people affected by bowel cancer. We speak to a few people in our community about the impact bowel cancer has had on Mother's Day, and how they are marking the day.

Lauren Backler, from Eastbourne

Lauren lost her mum to bowel cancer in 2015 and this year will be her first Mother's Day as mum to Edison: This Mother's Day is a special one, as it's my very first one as a mum to my gorgeous son Edison, born in July 2020. There's no denying that it's also incredibly hard at the same time though.

My mum should be celebrating the day as his grandma, along with my two nephews, only one of which she was alive to meet. I never could have imagined how hard navigating motherhood would be, without my own mum. I constantly wonder what she'd think of my parenting choices and hope she'd be proud of the mum I am. She was the best role model and if I can be half the mum she was, I'll be happy.


Beth Purvis, from Hertfordshire

Beth was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in September 2016 and has two young children: I used to think Mother's Day was just another commercial day, I duly bought my mother a card and a token gift but thought not much of it. When I became a mother that all changed, of course I am a mother every day, not just one day of the year but I started to really appreciate my own mother and everything she had done and still does for me.

My children make me cards and give me chocolates, but since my diagnosis I wonder how they will feel when they can't acknowledge me the one day a year they are told they should?


Alex Hood, from Hampshire

Alex was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer in May 2020 and this is her first Mother's Day since her diagnosis: Mother's Day has extra meaning this year. When I first found out I had bowel cancer, I had a lot of questions: Am I going to die? What about my children? Will I miss them growing up?

All I wanted to do was hug them and there were a lot tears. I cannot imagine the emotional turmoil they both suffered while I was undergoing my operations and recovering. The day I was 'fixed' was a day of joy. They could finally relax, knowing I was back to normal. Back to being mum, which I struggled with whilst in recovery from my operations.

Now the simple things mean so much. Even washing the school uniform or making their packed lunches. There's no better thing in the world than being a mum, and this year we celebrate the fact that my beautiful children still have theirs.


Nick Leader, from the Cotswolds

Nick lost his fiancé Sarah, mother to their two young children, to bowel cancer in October 2020: Mother's Day is special in all families, it is a time to celebrate the person that brought you into the world.

Following what has been an extremely tough four months after losing Sarah, my fiancé, to bowel cancer, my two children, Rafe, 7, and Elphia, 5, and I will spend the day remembering the happy times that we had and visit our favourite spot to walk the dog and feed the ducks.

There is not a day goes by when we question and wonder 'what if' but this Sunday we will remember a very brave, courageous woman who fought so hard to the very end.


Olivia Rowlands, from St Andrew's

Olivia wasn't able to get pregnant after treatment for stage 3 bowel cancer caused early menopause. Her cousin offered to be a surrogate: My first Mother’s Day as a mummy. I've waited four years for this and it is better than I could have ever dreamed of.

After cancer left me unable to carry a baby, I found it hard to believe something this good could happen and I didn't let myself believe it until she was in our arms! Thanks to my amazing cousin for carrying our miracle, I'm able to say that being Monica's mummy is the best thing in the world. I can't imagine life any other way. She makes me laugh every single day. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and I am so excited to watch her grow up.

I hope I have the same relationship with Monica that I have with my beautiful mum. This Mother's Day I'll be spending it with my little miracle and also treating my own mum. My thoughts will also be with those missing their mothers. I feel hugely fortunate to have my mum in my life.


Jane Corrigan, from Durham

Jane lost her daughter, Laura, in June 2020 aged 37 and is grandma to her two boys: How do two little boys, aged 9 and 4, cope with Mother's Day so soon after their mum's death? This was my concern for my grandsons.

The boys have said they want to take flowers and cards to her grave. Laura is buried in a beautiful woodland site where we have already planted wild flowers and a tree in her memory. So that is what we will do. Then we will have cake because Laura always took me for afternoon tea to celebrate Mother's Day, and we will talk about our favourite memories.


Rachel Reed, from PontyPridd

Rachel had a hysterectomy at 33 after she was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer: Mother's Day is a joyful day with my mum, she has done so much for me and I like to spoil her with beautiful flowers. However it also reminds me what cancer has taken away from me and my husband. I had a hysterectomy at 33 due to my diagnosis and at the time I was starting to think about becoming a mam – I wasn't ready in my twenties but now I wish I was.

Mother's Day is another reminder that I can't be a mam but I have recently bought a puppy to help with my maternal feelings. I cried when I collected him and will treasure my little pup Sheldon. I'm hoping to adopt in the future and I am lucky to have five young nieces and nephews to spoil. They really do help me.

This is why I nag everyone to look out for bowel cancer symptoms, as diagnosed late it can affect your fertility, or in my case you lose any chance to ever become a mother. Many nights I have cried wanting my own little family, so look out for symptoms and visit your GP no matter what age you are.

Mother's Day now reminds me of the heartache cancer has caused me but I am so thankful to have my amazing mother Beverley by my side.


Kesia Myers, from Jersey

Kesia is daughter to Treena, who was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in June 2019 and has now finished treatment: Whilst I am absolutely overjoyed to say that my mum is in her first year of remission and the last set of results were all clear, she is still having further tests for Lynch syndrome. In short, this is a faulty gene which increases the risk of many types of cancer, particularly bowel cancer.

I have always been so close to my mum and the thought that her journey with cancer is not yet over breaks my heart.

But she is so positive and has only ever lived life to the fullest. This Mother's Day is the first one since she finished her treatment, and she will most likely being dragging me out for a run followed by a cuppa with a biscuit, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


If you're struggling this Mother's Day, our support and information on emotional wellbeing is here for you. You can also join our online community where you can share your experiences and memories of your loved ones.


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