Gail’s Special Day story

Gail was 39 when she was diagnosed with secondary metastatic breast cancer. From a young age, Gail always dreamed of watching a live Wimbledon tennis match and never thought it was possible until she applied to Willow.

I’m an only child and have had a very happy family life for which I am very grateful. I have sadly ran out of time to have my own family because of the cancer. After the shock of the diagnosis and telling myself I can face this head on, I was then told it was terminal. I felt very bitter that I never got the chance to try and beat this horrible disease. The best way I can describe this sort of diagnosis is that it is like throwing a stone into a still pool of water and seeing the ripple effect of sadness affect your family and friends, which is hard.

I watched Wimbledon as a child on TV and always dreamed of what it would be like to actually be there. I just never thought that it was possible until I found out about Willow’s Special Days. I applied but honestly did not really expect to be offered this experience. I was astounded when I received the call offering a trip to London and tickets to see Wimbledon. It was so emotional and then after the initial emotion, in all honesty it felt bittersweet because part of me thought – I want them to say you don’t qualify as you are effectively not ill enough! That was my bittersweet reality, that I am ill enough. With a diagnosis of terminal cancer, how could I not think I was ill enough? I guess that because I keep living positively, I have almost forgotten the reality of what I am facing.

It allowed me to escape reality into a dream that I never thought possible and for that I am truly thankful


Willow has helped me not only to experience something that I never thought I would ever be able to, but in a way that I never associated with my illness, which was amazing as that for me would have tainted the whole experience with sadness.

It was just a dream come true. As flippant as it may sound, it did feel like it made my situation have a silver lining.

My Special Day distracted me from the reality of my diagnosis and made me realise that having a focus on something and getting so excited about it helped me to forget about what I am dealing with and the fear of what is ahead of me. What Willow does is just absolutely fantastic – taking people’s wishes and making them come true.