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Thursday, 20 February 2014

Valentine's & Tribute To Lucy!

Evening all! I hope that you are well! It's been a few weeks since I have had a chance to blog as I have been pretty busy with work, due to both half-term and having to travel about for courses etc at the moment.

As I mentioned in my last post I was about to have the week off of work. That was a couple of weeks ago now and seems like a bit of a distant memory. I was originally planning on getting a lot of drawing done but decided that as I had a prolonged amount of time off, that it would be more productive if I de-cluttered my studio/spare room which is overdue a tidy! As I have mentioned before I am a bit of a hoarder but the place was getting a bit out of control, as I still have most of my much bigger room from before I moved, packed into my little studio room along with all of my art stuff.  It's an ongoing project, but I am getting there slowly!

Valentine's then fell on the Friday after I was back at work. The hubby and I don't tend to make a big thing out of Valentine's and usually just get each other cards, but this year he also bought me some flowers and chocolates too. Then after work I cooked us a lovely meal courtesy of M&S. Whatever you got up to, I hope that you all enjoyed Valentine's with your loved ones too!

Whilst I am on here today I would like to share a little story with you. At the beginning of this week I received some sad news. A girl that was in my peer group at secondary school tragically died on Sunday, after a long battle with a brain tumour at the young age of 25. I didn't know her well, but when we were older she used to live opposite my parents with her husband, daughter, and step-son before moving away to Portsmouth. I want to share her story with you now, as not only is it incredibly tragic but also incredibly inspiring.

Lucy got married just a few months before me in the May of 2011 and moved to Waterlooville in Portsmouth with her husband, daughter then 3, and step-son 6 not long after. She had been suffering with headaches for a long time and was having them investigated. Then tragically just a month after she had got married, she was diagnosed with a serious inoperable brain tumour and given just 12 months to live. Despite this Lucy stayed strong and was determined to fight for her life. The doctors tried to do everything that they could to try and control and shrink the size of her tumour, and she endured numerous rounds of both chemo and radiotherapy. Throughout this she always stayed so positive, happy, and strong, as well as keeping her dirty sense of humour and cheeky ways.

She started a bucket list of everything that she wanted to do before she passed. One of the first things on her list was to go away with her family, but as she couldn't fly she decided that she wanted to go around the UK in a campervan for a three week trip. In order for her do this money had to be found to hire the campervan. Being that her whole family are huge football fans, her husband and a few of his friends came up with the idea to have their legs waxed to help raise the money. They also decided that they would go travelling around UK, visiting as many football clubs as possible in drag to raise further funds. Soon the total was reached and Lucy's first wish was granted, she was able to go on holiday with her family. They all had a lovely time despite the fact that Lucy had to spend a lot of time in a wheel chair, as her mobility was already being quite badly affected by her illness.

After this her next big wish was to be see and take her daughter to her first day of school, which was in September 2012 past the time in which the doctors had said she would live. Come September Lucy was still here and achieved her wish, not only to take her daughter to school on her first day but on many occasions after this too. Her daughter loved being dropped off at school by mummy, especially since she could get a ride with mummy on her pink mobility scooter!

For a while the tumour which Lucy decided to name Boris seemed to stabilise and even shrunk a little at one stage. Lucy carried on going through her bucket list again still with smile on her face despite the pain she was in, and always determined to fight not only for herself but especially for her little girl. She met numerous footballers and celebrities that she admired in including James Corden, and went to see Peter Andre in concert with her friends and little girl. Her daughter got to walk on as a mascot for her favourite football club and got to meet the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles which she is obsessed with! Lucy also wanted to have a garden with grass that she could enjoy sitting in during the summer, and the local community rallied round her to make this possible.

In November 2013 though things started to take a turn for the worse, the tumour was taking hold and there was nothing more that the doctors could do. Lucy was given only 3-6 months to live. Again despite this she was happy, positive, and was determined to carry on through her list. One of her wishes was to have white Christmas, so snow machines were arranged to come to her house to make this wish a reality. A few of the other wishes were a little obscure but they were all made possible. She wanted to hold a snake, so it was arranged that a number of reptiles along their keeper would come to her house. She had also never broken a bone or been in plaster, so she had her arm plastered with in pink plaster cast, her favourite colour. She had also never been arrested so she never spent the night in a cell!

At the beginning of Jan 2014 Lucy and her husband decided to renew their wedding vows, so that the children could have some happy memories to keep hold of. A lot of people within the community helped out and they had a lovely big ceremony at a local hotel, just like they were getting married for the first time all over again. Lucy looked stunning in the pictures and wore a beautiful white wedding dress. Despite the fact that she was in pain you would never have know it from the pictures. She even managed to stand for the photos, with a pink walking stick of course to aid her. They had an amazing day and made memory boxes after with thousands of photos to keep for when children were older. Their 6 year old daughter also sang Katy Perry's "Roar" especially for her parents.

Lucy went downhill very quickly after this and her fading memory became much worse, to the point that at times she couldn't even remember where who her family were. By this point there was only one last big wish on her list that she wanted to achieve. This wish was to have her husband and the children go on holiday to Disneyland after she had grown her wings, in order to make her passing easier for them.

At the end of January a fundraising page called Lucy's Last Wish was set up to raise £10,000 to make this happen. Numerous events and fundraising activities were arranged to take place, and collection tins were put out in local One Stop stores. She also teamed up to raise the money alongside another family, who have a little boy called Jack who is also battling illness. The page soon had over 2000 members and her story was circulated via local media. Then at the beginning of last week Lucy was prescribed constant bed rest much to her annoyance, but she was becoming very weak. Even when she couldn't speak much and was barely awake she still had her fabulous cheeky smile, especially when Peter Andre was mentioned. Due to this her family tried to make contact with him to see if they could get him to come and see her. They did manage to get hold of him but unfortunately he was unable to visit, which he himself was gutted about. Instead on Valentine's Day he spoke to her on the phone, and even though she couldn't speak back she was smiling from ear to ear. He even left her a voice mail message so that her husband could play it to her whenever she wanted.

Then on Sat 15th Feb Lucy's daughter decided that she wanted to throw her mummy an early Mothers Day, as she was afraid that she wouldn't be here for the real day. The children made her posies of flowers and gave her gifts, she was barely conscious but managed to utter her last words to her daughter which were "Leah I love you."

That evening her husband got a call from the local One Stop boss to say that between all of the stores they had managed to raise over £13,000 for the Disney fund within the space of a few weeks, and this was without the money that had been raised on the fundraising page. The kids were going to Disneyland!

Even though Lucy wasn't really awake her husband told her that the total had been reached. They went to bed that night side by side, with him holding her hand. Lucy then passed away peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of Sunday morning 16th Feb 2014. Her husband had stayed awake with her until 2:30am but said that "it was if she was waiting for him to fall asleep before she passed."

Her family can take great comfort in the fact that she got everything done that she wanted on her list, and it was as if she was holding on to make sure that her last wish was for filled. The day that she died was the day of the first fundraiser for her and Jack, and it was a glorious sunny day for them. Lucy was shining down on them.

Despite having lost his wife that morning her husband and children still managed to go along to the fun day, with him and the children managing to put on brave faces and smile. He even managed to talk to the local news station. They are all incredibly strong and I don't know many people who could do that.

The children are doing well considering and the total in the fund currently stands at over £20,000. There are still many fundraisers still planned to happen, that were organised before she passed both here in her home town and in Waterlooville. These include a tribute night, auction, coffee morning and a further fun day. Her husband is planning to take the children to Lapland with the extra money for their first Christmas without her. Which will hopefully ease the pain and help to make happy memories for the children.

Lucy may be gone but she has left a legacy both through her little girl (who has the same cheeky smile as her,) and through the way that she has also brought two communities together. Her story has touched may hearts and both united and introduced a lot of new people to each one another. There are also a number of us going to Lucy's coffee morning, in her home town from my school year. Many of us have not seen each other since then so she has re-united a year group too.

She will never be forgotten and the children see her as the brightest star in the sky. They went out the night after she died and saw a really bright moon and star, on a rare clear night lately which they say is mummy.

Loosing anyone is hard but loosing someone young that you know under such tragic circumstances really puts things into perspective, and makes you see how precious and valuable life is. We should all make the most of LIFE and make sure that we are fully LIVING ours to the full. It's just a shame that it often takes things like this to bring out the best in people, and make us realise how lucky we really are to be ALIVE. x  

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Fairy Bella Card Now For Sale!

Just thought I would nip in and do a quick post to let you all know that my fairy Bella bunny card design that I revealed to you in my previous post, is now available to buy as a birthday card from my Etsy shop.

 I hope that you are all having a fab weekend whatever you may be up to. I have just finished my last day at work before my week off, so I am hoping to relax and get lots of drawing done next week. But right now I am off to make some fajitas and chill with the hubby. Much love, and thanks as always for popping by. x