I can still dream

Ting is 30 and living with incurable bone cancer. After all of the hospital appointments and treatment, her one wish for her Special Day was to see her husband smile again. This is her story.

" I couldn’t stay strong without the support of loved ones and organisations like Willow. Thank you so much Willow for helping me realise my dreams. "

"I married Jonathan in 2011 and our lives seemed perfect. Just weeks later, I suffered debilitating back pain and loss of sensation in my legs. We were shocked when scans showed a large tumour on my spine.

I immediately had two surgeries and diagnosis of malignant high grade osteosarcoma – a rare and difficult to treat cancer. 

As I recovered from surgery and prepared for nine-months of tough chemotherapy, there was more bad news – the tumour returned, this time inoperable. The little hope that I’d one day recover evaporated. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed. 

At the start of 2013, with final treatments behind me, I’d regained some mobility in my legs. I was well-enough to travel so we travelled to China to visit my family. Saying goodbye to relatives for what would likely be the last time was harder than any of the surgeries or treatments. 

In June, the growing tumour was pressing on my spinal cord. Within ten days, I was paralysed from the chest down. I became confined to a wheelchair and completely dependent on my husband and care workers. Doctors said I might only have months to live. 

At first, I thought such a life was not worth living. However, memories of all the happy times kept me going. 

When the hospice told me about Willow, I was excited that an organisation dedicated to enabling people like me to realise their dreams existed. With my paralysis so recent, getting out was a struggle. With the love of good food in common since the day we met, our Willow wish was to have a date in a nice restaurant. 

We quickly decided on the world famous Fat Duck. Willow took care of absolutely everything. 

As the day approached, we became more excited. It was the most romantic and memorable meal in years, and I don’t remember the last time I’d seen such a big smile on my husband’s face.

Ever since I heard about Willow, I’ve been touched by their empathy and enthusiasm. They made me realise I can still dream, and that there are people out there willing to donate their consideration, time and money to help me and others in difficult situations to realise our dreams. The experience left me with wonderful memories. But the greatest gift? Jonathan has been my carer, cook, physio, nurse, driver and shoulder to cry on, and seeing him relax and smile for the first time in years was the most wonderful gift anyone could ask for. 

I couldn’t stay strong without the support of loved ones and organisations like Willow. Thank you so much Willow for helping me realise my dreams."


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