Matt's Special Day story
Ellie shares her family’s Special Day story and explains why she is encouraging everyone to Take Time for Tea this summer, to help other families like hers:
My husband Matt was a very fit 37-year-old. Everything was going really well, the children were eight, six and three years old and we had just moved into our new home. Then one Monday Matt woke up complaining of a headache. After weeks of excruciating pain he was sent for tests. Brain tumours were found and we were devastated. It was predicted he had just 11 weeks to live. Life was shattered for all of us. Our friends and family rushed to see us which, although was absolutely right, meant as well as having to cope with the shock, we weren't getting much time together as a family.
Just the five of us
When we found out about Willow a trip to Twickenham seemed like an obvious choice for Matt's Special Day as our eldest two boys played rugby and he coached one of their teams. Our seats were amazing and, at the end of the match, one of the All Blacks handed my son his scrum cap - which is still framed on our wall! The hotel was lovely and on the following day we went on a sightseeing bus tour. Then it was back to more treatment and Matt's steady decline in health and, although much slower than had been predicted (he was never going to give up easily), Matt died the following July.
Fundraising for Willow
Almost seven years after Matt’s Special Day, I organised a sponsored run and Take Time for Tea party. I was given the idea by a friend from my running club. It's always nicer to tuck into cake feeling like you've just done some exercise to earn it! On the day we had 23 runners, but a good few non runners turned up later for the tea party too. People were incredibly generous. I put up lots of photos of our Special Day next to the Willow collection tub so they could see how personal the cause is to me and we raised more than £500!
A lovely escape
I look back on our Special Day as a lovely escape from the treatment that Matt was going through and an opportunity to spend time just with each other. Thank you Willow, I'd never heard of you until we were eligible for your services, but I haven't stopped telling people about you since.