Christmas time is usually a time for celebration, family, presents and copious amounts of food and drink.
It’s a time of frivolity and happiness, but for Donna and Elliott Lowe, Christmas 2016 would become the time their world changed forever.
On December 22 last year, Donna was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and in January it became clear the cancer had already spread to the lymph nodes.
Donna, a mum of four, fought the disease with chemotherapy as well as daily radiotherapy for six weeks.
Donna didn’t survive to see another Christmas, she died on August 5, 2017 at the age of 32.
One year on from the diagnosis, Donna’s husband Elliott has posted Donna’s tragic story to Facebook to highlight just how devastating cancer can be. He is also selflessly raising awareness of cervical cancer and trying to encourage women to go for their smear tests.
I am sharing this with you today a year after her diagnosis to encourage everyone reading this to make sure that we take it upon ourselves to ensure that the special women in our lives in fact all women in our lives be they relatives or friends to attend their Cervical Screening (once called smears) and not to either miss them or forget to re-arrange.
Donna postponed her smear test ‘for reasons I can’t even remember’, and Elliott says ‘not a day goes by’ that he doesn’t wish he’d dragged her to that appointment or re-arranged the time.
Cervical screening takes only minutes, I am aware its not the most comfortable or dignified of experiences for women to go through but the consequences of missing one devastates life’s [sic] for everyone connected and will do for generations to come…
Let’s not let other families go through this immense pain we face daily let’s fight Cancer together as early detection saves lives I know this as I’m still in contact with women and their families who were being treated at the same time as my wife and who have been given the all clear.
One year on from the diagnosis, Elliott has admitted to Mirror Online that his children – who range from the age of five to 11 – are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their mother.
The children are struggling beyond words. My eldest is angry with everything, my disabled son still thinks she is coming home and my eldest daughter shuts herself away.
My youngest daughter is very matter of fact and tells everyone that her mummy is in her heart and her head.
I’m dreading Christmas. I have no idea what to expect or how the kids will react, I’m just going to have to play it by ear.
At the end of his emotional Facebook post, Elliott implored people to share this message with their friends and ask them to do the same.
At Christmas time it’s easy to bury your head in the sand for a few days and pretend as though real life isn’t happening, but those few days could make all the difference.
Please listen to Elliott and Donna’s story.