52 Lives

#213 Charlene

Request: Gifts for her children / Donations for a holiday / Days out / Messages

This week, we’d like to do something kind for a family from Cambridgeshire going through a very difficult time.

Charlene is a mum of 4 children, aged 16, 14, 11, and 2. She has stage 4 bowel cancer, which has spread to her liver and lungs. She has had multiple surgeries and dozens of rounds of chemo.

Charlene was diagnosed in April 2017, just after her baby girl was born. She had to have immediate surgery and chemo and couldn’t even hold her baby for months.

In the 2 years since she was diagnosed, life has been completely flipped upside down. Everything revolves around hospitals, appointment and scans. For the children, this has become a normal part of their life. Charlene and her husband, Neil, try to be as honest with the older children as they can. They know that this will eventually takes their mum’s life, but just live 3 months at a time around scan results.

Neil works as a prison officer and Charlene hasn’t been able to work since her diagnosis. She has been weak, sick and tired...but life doesn’t stop. Neil is out of the house 7am-6pm Monday to Friday, so the children have to help out more than most. The older children help to look after their baby sister, they help around the house, cook dinner - anything they can to help their mum.

Charlene and Neil do not know what the prognosis is. They refuse to ask about survival rates or timescales, but they know that in the not so distant future her options may become fewer.

“I don’t know how long I have left, I refuse to live to a timeframe so I never ask that question but I would like to make the most of every day,” she said.

With your help, we would love to give Charlene, Neil and the 4 children a summer to remember.

What We Need

1. Donations: So we can send them all on a holiday. 100% of what you give will be used to help this family. To make a donation, please click the link below.

2. Tickets to theme parks / Cinema vouchers: So Charlene and Neil can take the children out and about without having to worry about money. Cineworld is their closest cinema. Cinema gift vouchers or any theme park tickets can be posted to 52 Lives (Life # 213), PO Box 3154, Reading, RG1 9AT or emailed to admin@52-lives.org.  

3. Some gifts for the children. We've set up a wishlist with a few gifts for the children. There are only a small number of gifts on here, so if the list is empty, please consider giving a donation towards a holiday instead.  To buy a gift from the wishlist, please click the link below. 

4. Messages: The cards and messages you send every week make such a big difference to the people we help. So if you can spare a minute, please write a little message below for us to pass along to Charlene and her family (your message will be passed along but not your contact details). Messages can also be posted to 52 Lives (Life 213), PO Box 3154, Reading, RG1 9AT.


Buy a Gift

What We Did

The family had a dream to go to Disneyland Paris and had been saving towards it. Thanks to all of you, we were able to make it happen.

As well as the trip, they also received so many beautiful Amazon gifts and messages from all of you. A lovely lady called Jenny at Wrenwood Jewellery also made Charlene some personalised jewellery.

Charlene has just received news from her doctor that her chemo has stopped working. She has a blog, so I’ll use her own words to explain what that means..

"I came home and had to tell my children. They knew I was terminal but to tell them the thing that was keeping me alive had stopped working and I am going to die sooner rather than later was hard. I held my 11 year old son in my arms whilst he sobbed and that image will never leave my mind….I’ve promised the people I love I’m gonna continue to fight. I’ve promised my kids the most amazing Christmas and they are gonna get it!"

We will be doing our best to make sure they do.

Thank you so much everyone. And thank you Gala Bingo for raising funds. All of your support has meant so much to the whole family.