Jemma’s Special Day story

Jemma had just recovered from major surgery when she was shocked to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Willow arranged for Jemma and her family to take a Special Day at Center Parcs, where having fun and staying a beautiful, natural location contributed to a positive, uplifting and stress-free experience.

Our Special Day was truly a ray of sunshine. It was the best holiday we have had as a family and one that we will never forget.


I am married with two young daughters. I was still recovering from a major operation to remove a tumour when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a huge shock to us all and my focus at the time was getting through the treatment while trying to maintain some normality for the children. Now that I am out the other side, I am trying to take as many positives as I can from the experience. It has really put things into perspective and has opened my eyes to the importance of self care.

It was a very difficult year for us. I applied for my Willow Special Day as I was starting radiotherapy, and the knowledge that it was just around the corner kept me going through all of the exhaustion and the emotional struggles I faced. It gave us something positive to hold onto, some time together as a family and a chance to relax and forget about the difficult times.

When the day actually arrived, it was better than we even imagined it could be. My husband is currently working away from home so having us all together made the trip extra special. We had an amazing time at Center Parcs – the setting is truly stunning and the range of activities on offer was astounding.

We packed so much fun into our long weekend, including pony riding, rollerskating, climbing, splashing about in the fantastic subtropical swimming area, pottery painting, a boat ride on the lake, making sandcastles on the beach, zooming around on our bikes (the girls loved daddy pulling them in their trailer), feeding the woodland creatures that stopped by our patio each morning and eating lots of delicious food. We had such a happy few days filled with smiles and laughter.

It was the best holiday we have had as a family and one that we will never forget. We all loved every minute of it, especially the girls, who are still talking about it on a daily basis and asking to go back.  Our Special Day was truly a ray of sunshine in what has been a pretty dark time for us and we are so grateful for the experience.