I moved to West Dulwich in 2013 and not too long after, I enrolled my son in Nursery. He instantly bonded with his best friend Oscar, and as with most children’s friendships you meet their parents.
One sunny day in 2016, I met Piers Moth, he was my age - 35, and he told me he’d met his wife Laura, 3 weeks before he discovered he had a brain tumour. He knew she was the one he wanted to marry, and despite knowing his life may be cut short, they fell deeply in love and got married.
Amazingly, he’d undergone invasive treatment and managed to beat the cancer. There was always a risk it could return, but for now, life was good and he was thankful. He was so smitten with his new family and beautiful children Oscar and Dizzy, he couldn’t have been happier. I was amazed. I’d never met anyone who’d survived cancer, let alone a brain tumour. He was a walking miracle and a lesson to us all in making the most of what you have.
Two years later, they had some surprising news. His wife Laura was pregnant again. They were delighted, if not a little undecided as to where baby number three would sleep. By late 2018, they welcomed their daughter Ottilie and continued to live happily.
In early 2020, a routine check-up revealed the cancer had come back. It was devastating. Piers was stoic, convinced he could beat it again. His wife Laura was a tower of strength. Soon treatments, scans, hospital visits began in earnest. With each round of chemo, they remained hopeful. As 2020 wore on, it became evident that the cancer was winning. Piers treatment options were reducing and the tumour was growing.
As of last week, Piers reached his 40th birthday and is receiving support from St Christopher’s Hospice who are providing art therapy for the family. As Laura says, it’s now about making memories for the children.
For me, I find it hard to fathom how close tragedy is to their doorstep. What makes this family’s story even more difficult, is the return of this cruel disease coincided with the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Piers has been forced to shield from the very family and friends that want to be there for him. Meanwhile, Laura has been juggling care of Piers, and three beautiful children while working silly hours every day as the family’s main breadwinner.
What is even more remarkable is that Laura works for the NHS. She has been cycling into hospital to help poorly patients, before returning home to take care of Piers. Laura is an NHS Clinician specialising in lung physiotherapy. To be precise, a Respiratory Physiotherapist specialising in pulmonary rehab, COPD and pulmonary vascular disease.
Laura has been busy helping people learn how to breathe again, while she herself struggles under the weight of despair and anguish. As friends, we watch with sorrow and helplessness, as we witness the love of her life struggle to survive. Currently Piers is undergoing another round of chemo to try and slow the cancers grip on his body. This story is still unfinished, but what I do know is, they are loved and cared about by so many people, and at a time where cuddles are disallowed, I wanted them to know how cared, and how loved they are.
There is a very real prospect of Laura raising three children without Piers, and the emotional and financial responsibility that inevitably comes with young children. I know that Laura and her family need stability, and to know that she can remain in a job she has studied and worked so hard for, to provide security, safety and routine for her family.
At present, they don’t know how long they have left, but I know that quality time with each other is paramount. I want us all to help them make what time they have as a family, as special as it can be, and for Laura to take comfort in knowing there is a little bit of help for her when she needs it the most.
If you are able to help this truly wonderful family, I would urge you to join me in donating what you can to support Laura, Piers, Oscar, Dizzy and Ottilie in their time of need.
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share.
Update: As of yesterday evening (22nd March) Piers passed away. Our heartfelt love is with Laura, Oscar, Dizzy and baby Ottilie at this time.