A single mum with terminal cancer has made a desperate plea to help support her kids before she dies.
Louise Haywards, 48, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in November 2020 and it quickly spread to her liver and lungs. After two gruelling years of chemotherapy she was told by doctors in November last year that she has run out of options.
The mum-of-three said she now has less than a year to live and is frantically trying to raise money to help provide a brighter future for William, 19, Faith, nine and Louie, seven after she sadly passes away.
She said: "All of this is so scary - I was never expecting to be told I was dying. In November 2022, they told me there is nothing else they can do - I was devastated. I begged them to give me more chemotherapy - which they did - but it’s hard to accept I am going to die soon.
"It’s so unfair on my kids - they know about my cancer but I haven’t been able to tell them I’m dying. It’s so unfair on them - I just think, why did they have to be born into this life? How do I tell them they’re going to lose their mum at such a young age?”
Louise, from Whitchurch, Bristol, said she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer after noticing blood when she went to the toilet two years ago. She admitted putting off visiting her GP due to the pandemic, but after the bleeding became so bad she had no choice.
The 48-year-old said on one occasion her symptoms were so severe that all she could do was "sit on a towel to stop the bleeding". She said: "I felt like I was giving birth, that’s how bad the pain was."
Doctors diagnosed her quickly after finding a 7cm tumour in her bowel and she began chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But sadly after two years, the single stay-at-home mum was given the heart-breaking news that the cancer had spread.
Around three months ago she was told it had spread to her liver and lungs, and had begun to affect her kidneys too. She said: "I watched Deborah James deteriorate - she was on the same meds that I am on. I watched her deteriorate, and thought ‘soon that’s going to be me."
‘It’s hard to accept I’m going to die soon’
Louise said her eldest son William, a mechanics apprentice, is aware of her prognosis but admitted she is yet to break the bleak diagnosis to her two youngest kids. She said: "My little one, Louie, especially relies on me. Faith and Louie know about the cancer, the chemo, and the pain I’m in - but only William knows I am dying.
"These past two years, even with cancer I have continued to look after them on my own. I did the housework, cooked, took them to school, on my own - looking at me even now, you’d never believe I was ill. It’s so hard to accept that in reality, I am going to die soon."
Louise also said she doesn’t even plan to have a funeral to limit her children’s future pain, adding: "I don’t want to put my children through it twice - you lose somebody, then you live it all over again at the funeral."
The 48-year-old said her sister, Rachel, 47, whose children are grown up, will eventually move into her house to parent Faith and Louie.
The single mum is now trying to raise as much money for her children as she can before she is “ripped away from them”.
Writing on her GoFundMe page, which has already received more than £3,000 in donations, she said: “My kids are going to be basically orphans. I’ve never asked anyone for anything my whole life, I’m a massive giving person and I’m always the first to give to people in these situations, but I wish for my kids to have a lil money with them when I’m gone.”
She added: “I don’t know how to explain the devastation I feel knowing my whole life I’ve wanted kids and I had them later in life - 39 and 41 - and now I’m being ripped away from them. I just want them to have to struggle less. So if you could please help, even if it’s a penny, just for my children.”