helping to cure kids with cancer; the kindness of strangers

Less than two weeks ago I posted a blog on my reasons for trying to run this years london marathon. I have been overwhelmed by the sheer kindness of strangers; I have received almost seven hundred pounds at the time of year when we are all scrimping and saving.

And do you know the most astounding fact I have ‘met’ only three people on that list. If you look closely you will even see some celebrated authors and a couple of celebrities.

Here’s the link:

I can be considered a misery at times and now in terms of human kindness I stand firmly corrected.

So I would like to see how far this social media wave can carry me on my quest to raise two thousand pounds for Seth and the Anthony Nolan Trust. Please donate your pennies, it doesn’t have to be pounds; and retweet if you believe in the kindness of strangers!

Plus if you are a ‘real life friend’ feel free to dig deep and add to the total as you know more than most how little time I have and how unfit I truly am!

About me

I am an overweight rather grumpy mum of five year old twins and a seven month baby. I am lucky enough to know a special little boy called Seth who has taken on the curse that is leukaemia and has fought a long hard battle which he has won with the help of Anthony Nolan.

Please listen to Seth’s dad for more details on his son’s illness.

“In April 2008 Seth was diagnosed with a blood cancer called Acute Myeloid Leukemic. The day after he was diagnosed he started 6 months of Chemotherapy. He was two years old. During his treatment his Consultants carried out tests on the cancer to give an indication about how well the Chemotherapy was likely to work. Unfortunately the results were not good, the Chemotherapy was unlikely to be effective and he needed a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant to give him the best chance of a cure.  

Every one of us has billions of stem cells in the bone marrow inside our bones. These cells which produce all the blood in our body throughout our lives. The transplant aims to remove all of these cells, including the ones which are cancerous and replace them with new stem cells from a closely matching donor. The hospital searched databases worldwide for a donor, they were pretty hopeful that one would be found, however none were.  So without a donor Seth just had the Chemo to rely on.  

At the end of treatment initially the signs were good and we hoped he had got away with the slim chance he was given of the Chemotherapy working.  Sadly in January 2009 his cancer relapsed. He started more Chemotherapy and more searching of databases took place, no living donors had become available but thankfully the Anthony Nolan Trust found a lifeline for him. The stem cells from the umbilical cord of a baby born in Germany were a good enough match for him to have a transplant. The chemotherapy continued for a few more months, ending with a final dose which killed off all of his stem cells and with them we hope the cancer forever. 

 On April the 19th 2009 23ml of blood rich with stem cells, were transplanted into him. This is a difficult point in the transplant process, the chemo had left him very unwell and with none of his own stems cells left to make blood, he relied upon daily blood transfusions for weeks to keep him alive. Eventually we started to see signs of the new stem cells beginning to work, but as they did a common side effect of the transplant also started, Graft vs. Host Disease. His new blood saw his body as a foreign object and began to attack it as if it was a virus. This caused the most horrendous pain, prevented him from eating and damaged his lungs, liver and gut.  He had IV morphine to manage the pain and was fed through a tube into his tummy and IV line for months.  

Very slowly he began to get better and after months in hospital was allowed home.  A year after the transplant he was still unwell, but he finally stopped being fed through the tube and was strong enough to go to play school again. He has continued to recover and in September this year started school. He still has a few side effects and the time in hospital has left him a little shy compared to other children, but other than that he is a normal, happy little boy. 

If it were not for the kindness of a mother donating her babies umbilical cord and the Anthony Nolan Trust Seth would not be here today. Today there are over 2000 people in the UK who like Seth cannot find a donor. To help these people it’s easy to join the register of donors, all it takes is a sample of spit and if you are lucky enough to be given the chance of saving someone’s life through donating, it’s as easy as giving blood.”

Please donate, support me as I race against time to get these scared legs ready to run 26 miles.

Thank you


dont forget this

Things to not forget.

The urgent pleas at night-time for one more kiss and ‘huggle’. So often I am rushing on to the next task, to sort the house, to make the dinner, to wrap the presents. No sooner than I blink I am sure night-time huggles will erode from our relationship and I will regret the even one time I pull away from the undeniably loveliness of sharing a hug with my beautiful babies.

I can’t forget the way twin girl starts every sentence with the word “so” so she can be in charge, she loves to be the boss but yet she is incredibly kind as well. The way she tells her nanny off for calling her “lovely” and “petal” because she wants to be forever known as “monkey molly”.

Could I really not keep a clear image of early morning peek a boo sessions with beautiful baby, no one can raise a giggle from that child like her big brother and sister.

Will I always remember coaxing twin girl to give up her first love, her thumb-sucking habit, all for a pair of clipping shoes. And twin boy we will never forget what you stopped doing in exchange for your brand new guitar. The world is a better place now that little habit has been put to bed.

Will I remember the calmness of twin boy when he is poorly. I often forget how fragile the big ones still are.  I need to remember the soft sad image of him laid on the sofa, wrapped in a duvet shivering whilst the rest of us baked in the heated house. With twin girl at school he took control of the remote control and regressed to Cbeebies. She would never let him watch it normally but surprisingly we both enjoyed the familiar face of Mr Tumble.

And beautiful baby my lovely little shortbread, can I forget weaning you? you have started on real food kiwi and broccoli seem to be firm favourites. It is a strange feeling that I am no longer your only source of nourishment and one I don’t altogether like as yet. I don’t think I will ever forget how much joy you bring me daily. You bring out the softer side in me, I can’t let you cry, I live to see you smile.

She is trying to sit up and although each attempt is met with rapture from the family a little voice inside me whispers for her to slow down, be my newborn baby for a while longer.

I don’t need to write how much I love my children but sometimes I need to remember to tell them every day.

Now these memories are written, I cannot forget.

Thanksgiving and blaspheming

We made it!

We got through baby beautifuls blessing without either twin girl or boy shaming us and getting the entire family barred from the pearly gates. It was touch and go for a while, twin girl did start her blasphemous repetition of ‘Jesus, Jesus’ once again and the vicar did break out in a visible sweat but all was averted by a quick hymn.

Truth be told we had a rather lovely day, it was an intimate thanksgiving service with both mine and he who helped create thems families and our lovely little girl’s godparents. We also got the twins blessed as well for good measure as it is always good to try and keep in with the big man.

Baby beautiful made her own amusement during the service, she refused to drink from the lovely bottle of milk I had made earlier for her and insisted that she had it straight from the source so the organist nearly went to meet his maker early when my breast made a guest appearance on the front pew. However she did behave impeccably when the vicar cuddled her in his arms and gave thanks to him upstairs for her arrival and she saved the rather large posset of broccoli sick for my shoulder rather than his.

We are not a massively religious family, but certain events over the last couple of years have led us to wanting our children to experience religion in some way so they can make their own choices in the future. A thanksgiving service was a good way to achieve this in our opinion. It also made me consider what I do have to be thankful for.

My beautiful children are healthy, happy and most of the time a pleasure to play with. I am surrounded by a lovely mass of friends and have an additional circle of online friends who are always there to speak to in good times and bad. My family is up there with the best, ever eager to help, support and love my children and their daddy. It’s not always easy, in fact sometimes being a mum and a wife can be incredibly hard but I am extremely thankful for the support I have around me.

What do you have to be thankful for?

Tea and Tissues

Today was the day, we have been waiting for this day for a long long time.  I was up at 6.30am, washed my hair, cleaned my teeth extra well, painstakingly applied makeup in a way to try and make me look like I have made no effort and always loo naturally fresh faced.  At 6.30am I have a tendency to look a little like the Gruffalo with no hairy wart on the end of my nose (it’s on my chin for those that are interested) so it takes a lot of make up to make it look like I am not wearing any.  My outfit was chosen the night before, and nails were filed and toenail polish applied.  By 7.45 I was as ready as I would ever be – oh yes I was ready for my first ever school run!

Clearly twin one and twin two were not as organised as me for my first school drop off and their first day at school.  Twin girl had neglected to mention to me that she had outgrown her wellies that she needs to have at school from day one in case of flash floods and twin boy hadn’t ordered enough name labels from the internet so has to now suffer the shame of having clothes hastily marked with a black permanent ink which clearly shows on the exterior of his t-shirts.  Both of them had cleverly managed to hide the school info in a red file marked school info which took me a good two hours to find.  Plus twin girl had clearly not ironed her cardie.

By some miracle we all managed to leave the house along with he who helped create them at 8.25am, beautiful baby had a shorter feed than usual and was badly in need of a nappy change but we persevered onwards ignoring these minor obstacles.  We attempted to get some photos but one or both of the ‘big kids’ kept insisting on sticking their tongues out so I am going to wait for another day, take some better ones and stick them in the album with the caption ‘first day at school’.

We arrived at big school well quite frankly I was a wreck, what if the other mums were mean to me? what if they wouldn’t let me play with them after the kids had gone into class?  I clung to he who helped create them like a flea to a mangy dog.  Beautiful baby acted impeccably using her newborn cuteness to entice new friends over to her mummy.  Twin one and two waited impatiently to be free of us, Twin boy managed to do a stupendous sneeze as we walked in through the gates which created a mass of bogeys but to be fair rather than wiping on his top as normal he produced a tissue from his little man shorts instead – growing up already, next thing you know he will be wiping his own bum!

So eventually the kid’s teacher made an appearance and took them away to teach them everything they need to know leaving me free to go to ‘tea and tissues’ in the school hall.  To be honest tears were the furthest from my mind as my little wild animals headed into the school zoo to be tamed.  However when I arrived in the school hall and realised that everyone seems to know each other except me little tears threatened to reveal that I was actually wearing mascara.  Still small steps were taken and I managed to strike up a few small conversations and no one ran away screaming from me.

So all in all, me, twin one and two sat down this evening and compared notes.   Their verdict was that school is fantastic and they made loads of friends and had some really funny stories read to them and played with loads of new toys.  I am not as easily convinced; I really miss my nursery school, I had all my friends there and we used to hang out in the park after class sometimes we had picnics other times we just chatted and played. Even beautiful baby had two other baby buddies  to sit and stare at so she has suffered  a little as well at this upheaval in our lifestyle.  Still for the sake of the children I am going to give it another go tomorrow….., plus he who helped create them says I have to go!

Wish me luck…

Movie Magic

No feeling like it…

You know how life is never like the movies and sometimes well wouldn’t it be nice if life just bore some resemblance to a disney film.  Well I have found my slice of the cinematic pie. Try this exercise at home and see if you can also get a bit of movie magic.  

Take child or children outside for a walk. Walk for a while, hopefully the cries of ‘my legs hurt’ or ‘carry carry’ will be kept to a minimum.  After a while allow them to walk on ahead. Wait until a reasonable distance has been created (not too far if you don’t want to lose them). Then stop walking, crouch on the floor, open your arms wide and call their name…

Movie magic,

My two come hurtling towards me arms out like eagles soaring through the skies.  Twin girl chooses to bury her head in her special spot between my shoulder and neck and whispers ‘I love you mummy’ and twin boy goes more for the airport reunion scene and throws himself into my arms and jumps forcing me to leap up and swirl him round bringing massive giggles from us both.

There is nothing better for me on this earth than cuddles with my children.

I love my kids


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Copyright © Jane Blackmore and Northernmum, 2010-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jane Blackmore and Northernmum with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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