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When life gives you lemons....

£14,082 of £25,000 goal

Raised by 310 people in 10 months
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Earlier this year our friend and fellow school mum Becky was diagnosed with Stage IIb Cervical Cancer. Becky is 32 and is a proud mum to Maila who has recently turned five. After her diagnosis, Becky astounded us with her emotional strength and positive attitude and we watched her go through weeks of difficult chemotherapy and radiotherapy at The Christie in Manchester. Becky, her friends and family and the wider community all hoped that in a few months time the tumour, nicknamed “the lemon”, would be no more.

Becky is a single mum with a huge support network of family and friends. With them by her side, she threw herself into memory making and adventures with Maila over the summer. These two beautiful girls have more energy than the rest of us put together.

Sadly, at the beginning of September after her follow up scan, Becky was given the news that although the original tumour had all but disappeared, the cancer has now spread to her spine, pelvis and lymph nodes. As devastating as this news is, Becky is however optimistic that the cancer can be managed for some time into the future.

She has already successfully endured another cycle of difficult radiotherapy, managing the school run and all that entails combined with a social life along with the pain, nausea and other symptoms she has on daily basis.

We are very fortunate to have Becky as a friend. She is always smiling, even at the worst of times and has an extraordinary way of coping with all that life has thrown in her direction with dignity, grace and humour. Our children are equally lucky to have Maila as their friend, a happy and caring little girl who has the brightest of futures ahead of her.

Becky is focused now on the memories she can make with Maila, the fun they can have together, the adventures they can go on and how to best equip Maila for what lies ahead. With this in mind we hope to raise as much money as possible to help fund these fun times and adventures.

We want this to be a flexible gift to Becky and Maila, money to help them fit in whatever day trips and holidays they desire which are also achievable in-between treatments and alongside the unpredictable nature of this disease.  You can be assured that Becky will use any money raised wisely and any remaining funds will be put in a Trust Fund for Maila’s future.

Please help Becky make as many wonderful memories with Maila as possible. She is hoping to get to Lapland before Christmas as their first trip. Please follow her memory making on her Instagram account bexlemonlife.

With love and many thanks

Caroline, Sophie, Karen, Kelly, Steph, Ruth, Jo, Emma, Vicki and the rest of Becky’s School Mums

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For those of you who have been kind enough to donate and also share Becky’s story with others, on her request, here is another update on her progress. It has been a mixed few months.
After the excitement and achievements during the festive period, both physical and emotional, Becky had some further bad news at the beginning of the year. Already aware of a tumour making its way towards her spinal cord, she began to experience sudden increased pain and numbness, prompting an urgent scan and a further hefty dose of radiotherapy to this area. Becky began to contemplate the reality of becoming paralysed, what this would mean for her lifestyle and care needs and how this would impact on her life as a mum. January and February can be bleak months for us all but the pain, exhaustion and gruelling side effects of the drug regime definitely took their toll. This was coupled with the news that many of the tumours had not responded to the current course of treatment and based on this, Becky’s subsequently decided to cease chemotherapy.
While it is impossible to imagine what Becky was going through during these long, dark and painful winter nights, her friends could still see glimmers of hope, thoughtful text messages coming their way and a mum, daughter, sister and friend who was using all of her energy to figure out how best to move forward.
The first step was to embrace opportunities for holistic therapies that may help manage Becky’s symptoms. Becky discovered floatation therapy, how good a head massage feels while bald and the hard truth that while support tights may manage swelling well, they are particularly difficult to squeeze into alluringly. For the blood donors amongst us, Becky has gratefully accepted a number of pints to boost her red blood cells, having more energy and less breathlessness as a result. Becky even managed a lovely weekend at the ShineNorthRetreat (Shine Young Adult Cancer Support), sharing experiences with other young people who are living with cancer.
For someone so young, with so much energy and drive for life, the loss of independence seems particularly cruel. The decision to apply for a blue badge and accept a walking stick and wheelchair requires a tremendous amount of courage, as Becky will testify. Having the wheelchair in your possession is one thing but wheeling yourself out in public is quite another. This adjustment is a gradual one. Becky knows she must adapt to find new ways to enjoy life and is learning that this requires a lot more pre-planning and organisation to ensure accessibility for her and her companions. Life from wheelchair eye-level brings many surprises, for instance, how to make yourself seen to order a drink at the bar?! Always one to add a touch of comedy and induce a giggle, Becky has christened the wheelchair “Walter” which in a strange way, has possibly helped her and those around her accept this latest development.
There is a wealth of phenomenal support available for Becky, and for those in a similar situation. During trips to the Christie, Becky has made use of the wonderful Maggies centre. St Anns Hospice host her with a group of others each Friday for a day of therapy, chat, mindfulness and holistic treatments, in addition to a consultation with the palliative care team each week. She has found her time there invaluable and it has allowed her to face and deal with many aspects of her future and what lies beyond. Symptom control is her priority, to enable her to lead the best life she can.
We know Becky is certainly a force to be reckoned with. We also know that the introduction of steroids, the latest addition to the drug cocktail, have enhanced this force. You could say she is now unstoppable. A quick glance at Becky’s social media pages illustrate the energy Becky has for new things, the ability to be content with the smallest of experiences and most of all her devotion to Maila. Hard as it has been to bear, Becky has encouraged Maila to continue enjoying experiences and holidays without her in order for her mummy to recoup some energy for the special times they spend together.
Unable to travel abroad, Becky is exhausting the possibilities the UK has to offer. She loves a Spa break, particularly with a good friend or sister, has been frequenting the theatre, Dirty Dancing and Joseph being two highlights and had an amazing VIP night seeing and meeting Gabrielle who dedicated a song to her and Maila.
The adventures of Walterthewheelchair are chronicled on her Instagram page (#bexlemonlife) and recent happy times with Maila include a trip to Cheshire Alpacas, a day at the Wonder Circus, a school egg decorating competition entry which put others to shame, a redecoration of Maila’s bedroom and most importantly plenty of snuggle time.
On the list for the coming weeks are both the Take That concert in Manchester and VIP trip to Hugh Jackman and The Greatest Showman. After watching the film of the musical Joseph with Maila, Becky is also keen to catch it with her when it tours to Blackpool.
Undoubtedly Becky wishes more than anything that she could be going to work every day and living a normal life with its normal daily struggles. Her current life is as far from normal as possible. However she has a firm belief that she must make the most out of life and is desperate for Maila to carry her positive outlook through into her own life when she is gone.
Hopefully a short stay in the hospice in the coming weeks will allow Becky to better manage the pain and perhaps her exhaustion may then relent a bit. It is hard to reconcile the happy photos we see on Instagram and Facebook with the magnitude of pain Becky is experiencing. Yet she still affirms that a life of pain and enjoyment, for her, is better than a life spent in bed.
It is hard to think of Becky without feeling slightly in awe. Many different adjectives could be attributed to the way Becky and indeed many others cope with and deal with their cancer. There is no right or wrong way to do it but this is Becky’s way. She is living her best life now, in the only way she knows how.
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It has been an eventful couple of months for Becky who is currently in the middle of a course of aggressive chemotherapy. She learnt after her last scan that the cancer had unfortunately spread further and faster than expected. It is hoped that this treatment will help slow its progress and allow her more quality time with Maila.

During the time between hearing this difficult news and commencing chemotherapy Becky squeezed in as much fun as possible. Knowing that her ability to travel would be limited from then on, she managed to fulfil her dream of visiting Versailles&Paris, quickly followed by a happy family holiday and some much needed sunshine in Fuerteventura. Becky and Maila also enjoyed another mum&daughter photoshoot prior to her inevitable hair loss. Maila, by this point, had decided to follow mummy's example by having her hair cut into a bob and was on hand to help on the day when Becky took the plunge and said goodbye to to the rest of her own hair.

A couple of weeks ago Becky and a friend were given VIP tickets to the final of the X-factor. This fell in Becky's "better week" between chemotherapy cycles and they had a fantastic time. This week any readers of Closer magazine will see a poignant double page spread featuring Becky, Maila and Becky's mum Marion at a recent VIP trip to Alton Towers. A definite Christmas highlight for them all.

I know it is important to Becky for you all to know how grateful she is for the kind donations you have given as well as the far-reaching support she has been offered. Not only has she been able to put money towards these trips and experiences, but importantly, they have also helped fund a wheelchair, a specialist wig and other headgear in addition to lots of smaller things which have made both her and Maila feel better at times when they have needed it the most. Money has also been put aside for Maila to experience Lapland with her family in the future.

On Christmas Day, Becky will be celebrating her 33rd birthday and Christmas with all of her family around her. With any luck this will also be during a "better week" and if so, I have no doubt that she will be enjoying a glass or two of fizz like the rest of us.
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Becky's friends and family continue to be so grateful to everyone who has contributed and shared this page. It's been a busy couple of weeks for Becky and Maila and we wanted to take the opportunity to mention some of the charities Becky is involved with.

The Little Princess Trust provides real hair wigs free of charge to children and young people with cancer. Becky's trademark long plait made its way to them a couple of weeks ago and we are all loving her new bob. www.littleprincesses.org.uk

The Maggies Centre at the Christie has been a regular drop in point for Becky and on Tuesday she was lucky enough to be invited for an afternoon of pampering courtesy of "Look Good Feel Better" In connection with this, Becky will be interviewed LIVE on Radio 5 Live tomorrow morning at 7:35am - please tune in if you can!
www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk

Tonight Becky and Maila are being treated to an evening at the theatre to see Matilda the musical thanks to the Willow Foundation. We hope they have a wonderful time.
www.willowfoundation.org.uk

Amongst all of this, Becky managed a much needed cosy break with Maila in the Lake District last weekend. Lots of adventures, lots of rest and a surplus of snuggles. You can see from the photo that not even the heavy rain dampened Maila's spirits!

Thanks again to everyone who is supporting Becky
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Thank you to everyone for your donations and comments, they really do mean such a lot to Becky and her family. Over the weekend Becky had an interview with a journalist from the Manchester Evening News. The article has been published on their website today and if you have time, you can view it here:

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/i-dont-know-how-long-15250539

Please continue to share Becky's story.
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Raised by 310 people in 10 months
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