Our life was pretty normal - my partner Dan, three children and myself. At the time of Delilah’s diagnosis; Reuben was six, Caleb three and Delilah 22 months.
One Friday afternoon, after Delilah having an upset tummy for a few days, I took her to see a Doctor - within 24hrs she was admitted onto a children’s oncology ward with a tumour in her tummy... our lives were turned upside down.
I went into hospital with her and Dan tried to carry on earning whilst looking after our other two young boys. He was self-employed, so it was hard. Dan had to cut his hours and of course this meant he lost money. I work for a private healthcare company, so the only option for me was statutory sick pay, which was around £85 a week - I was earning over £1000 a month previously but now obviously couldn’t work.
There are options to help families with a child diagnosed with cancer but you cannot apply for this until three months after their first admission into hospital. At thetime that help was DLA, and then once you get DLA you can get more tax credits, and then you can apply for carers allowance. We also needed to apply for housing benefit, but that application took 8-12 weeks. How were we supposed to pay the rent, bills, and feed my kids until then?
We had a few hundred pound savings and I had to max out my credit cards to just survive; the problem from there was that I then couldn’t afford to pay them back. Family helped and some local charities but other than that there was no immediate help on offer.
On top of our baby girl being diagnosed with cancer, we now had terrible financial worry.
My Shining Star is an amazing charity that sadly wasn’t around when Delilah was first diagnosed. They help families, they take away the financial burden that these families face. They provide love and support and friendship. There are so many families like us at the start of this cancer journey that are scared, desperate and don’t know what to do - this is when My Shining Star step in and work magic.
Sadly after battling for 16 months our beautiful girl passed away just after her third birthday. Devastation and heartache filled our lives. Our other children lost their sister and it was awful to see them grieve for her.
This is when My Shining Star came into our lives. They sent us on an amazing family holiday where we could treat our children that had been through so much and start to heal as a family. We have spent time away at a Christmas Wonderland which has been magical and we’ve made so many happy memories all thanks to My Shining Star.
We cannot thank them enough - they have helped us so much on an emotional level and financial. We have made friends for life in this charity. They have been the light in such dark days following the death of our daughter and we will do all we can to raise money for them and be there for other families that find themselves in these awful circumstances.
Kindly written by Delilah’s mum, Rachael. Thank you so much for these beautiful words; nobody understands quite why we do what we do like your family and the others we are able to support. We only wish we could work actual magic sometimes x