For Young Carers Awareness Day 2019, we’re sharing the story of Lucie, age 9 and her mum Sharleen.
In January last year, Sharleen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following chemotherapy, a two and a half week stay in hospital with pneumonia, a mastectomy and radiotherapy in August last year, Sharleen was told the devastating news that her cancer had continued to spread and was terminal.
When Lucie asked: “Are you going to die mummy?” Sharleen had to say: “yes I am”.
Since day one, Big C have been there to help Sharleen and Lucie. They came into one of our Support and Information Centres almost straight away, Sharleen says: “If you go in feeling upset, you don’t leave feeling upset.
“We can’t hide what’s happening from Lucie, she just knows when something is wrong. Having that extra support for the whole family and somewhere we can all go to talk has been so valuable.”
Lucie has been helping to care for her mum since the diagnosis. Sharleen says: “She helps me to get stuff, now the cancer has spread to my lungs it’s hard for me to go up and down stairs a lot, so if I need something she will be straight up to get it, she’s more than willing to help. She’ll say to me, ‘sit down, you’ve done too much’.
“Every day Lucie makes sure I’m awake before she leaves the house for school, and at night when I go to bed she will keep coming in to check on me. She’s worried I won’t wake up, but she’ll stroke my head like I do to her when she’s been poorly.”
In December last year Lucie won the West Norfolk Young Carer of the Year Award at KL.FM Radio’s Young Hero Awards. She collected a trophy and enjoyed a special breakfast with the Mayor of West Norfolk. Sharleen thought she’d keep the win as a surprise but Lucie says: “I kind of knew I had won the award. Mummy didn’t keep it secret very well, so I guessed. The breakfast was fun and yummy!”
Sharleen says: “Lucie’s such a good girl, she has her moments because she’s nine of course, but she really deserves the recognition, she’s been so brave and we are so proud of her.”
Pictured is Lucie with the Mayor.
If you know a young person affected by cancer we have a range of support services available. Simply visit our https://www.big-c.co.uk/support