Braeden was diagnosed with a brain tumour after falling ill the day before his fifth birthday. Unfortunately the tumour returned after surgery and Braeden died in October 2014. CLIC Sargent Social worker Pat supported Braeden’s mum Milene throughout treatment and beyond, helping her carry on with life. Milene explains.
“When your child is diagnosed with cancer you are just trying to deal with the practical things in front of you. I was taking things in and trying to process them. You just concentrate on that first thing you have to do and then you move from moment to moment. You are always in the present.
“The chemotherapy was just horrendous for Braeden. There were four cycles and he was so unwell. He still managed to keep his personality. He never questioned what he was going through and he never asked what was wrong with him.
Amazing sense of community
“For some of his treatment he had to go to Glasgow and I stayed at CLIC Sargent’s Home from Home there for 10 days when he was having a stem cell harvest. There’s an amazing sense of community there.
“There is this sense of respite and the other families there were going through something similar. You didn’t have to explain yourself or your feelings, because the people there understood it."
In April 2014 Milene was given the awful news that Braeden’s tumour had returned.
“I sat there in shock and I thought back to the fact that they told me that should it recur there would be little that they were able to do. They said that there was a cycle of chemotherapy that we could try, and we did, but it didn’t have any effect.
“He was so unwell and unhappy, so we started palliative care in June. After five weeks of palliative care I asked if I could get him home. He was home until he passed away on 10 October aged seven.
She kept me going
“My CLIC Sargent Social Worker Pat was just incredible. She made so much of a difference for me. She is still in touch after two years and she just helped me in a lot of different ways. She has kept me going. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for her I don’t think I would be here.
“I was alone, not with much family. Her support was often just being there. I didn’t have a car so she would drive me to my appointments and just give me the push I needed to keep going.
“Losing a child is something you can never prepare yourself for. I also went from being surrounded by people and seeing them every day, to having nobody there a lot of time.
“It was a really hard time and if Pat wasn’t there picking me up, then I really don’t think I would be here today.”
Join our fight
Cancer can have an emotional and mental health impact on the whole family. 95% of parents experienced anxiety during their child’s treatment.
When cancer strikes young lives, CLIC Sargent helps the whole family cope. This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, join our fight and sign up to be a CLIC Sargent campaigner.