We wanted to spend this Mothers Day sharing the words of the children of our three wonderful trustees, who founded HeadWrappers following their own cancer journeys and beautifully turned their pain into a passion to help others.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can flip your whole world upside down, not only life changing for you as an individual but for your family, friends and support network too. Below, we hear what it was like to go through this experience as the child of a parent with cancer and see the journey of how these three mums came to be new mums when HeadWrappers was born.
Before we get into it, we also wanted to acknowledge that Mothers Day can be really hard for so many, it’s great that lots of companies now offer a ‘opt-out’ service for Mothers Day marketing and we want to offer this here for anyone who may not wish to read on, we send out the biggest hugs and support on this day to those who do.
Steph, daughter of Julie
Growing up, our mum has always been the strong, positive, determined person that you see today, who continuously puts others before herself. Although during her cancer treatment it was our turn to look after mum for a few months, she never let her illness affect her outlook on life or stop her from enjoying time with family and friends. Mum’s hair had always seemed to be a defining part of her, so when she lost it from the chemo it naturally had an impact on her self-image and confidence, but she faced it with courage and strength and that helped us as a family to adjust to the “new look” as well.
‘'I often think about how something so positive has come from such a hard part of our family’s story.’’
A couple of years later when mum started volunteering for Breast Cancer Care, it seemed like the perfect way to help others to go through what can be a very difficult part of the cancer process: hair loss.
Then HeadWrappers came to be, from the hard work of mum and the other trustees, and the charity has been able to help so many people who are experiencing hair loss from cancer treatment. I often about think how something so positive has come from a hard part of our family’s story. Seeing the difference the charity has made to the people they help has inspired me to become a volunteer as well, and various members of our family have also been involved in several fundraising events to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. Mum has been many roles to us over the years and will continue to be an inspiration as a result of the things she has done for others going through a similar experience to hers.
Nicola, daughter of Cris
When my Mum was having her treatment for breast cancer, I was 20 years old and at University. I remember the day my Dad told me about Mums diagnosis, we had travelled down to Devon for a family holiday a day before she did. I’m glad she wasn’t there when Dad sat us down, because I cried a lot and could have made the moment into quite a selfish one through shock and expressed my fears, upset and feelings rather than offer the comfort she would have needed. By the time she arrived , I had processed the information. I cant remember what was said, I’m sure there were hugs and tears, I doubt I said the ‘right things’ and I am sure she spent the holiday playing a very maternal role, focusing on making sure my Brother and I were dealing OK with the news.
During Mums treatment, I was living away from home and it was easier to be in denial about the seriousness of her illness. Mum was an absolute trooper and was so strong. She never let on how sacred she was, or complained about the side effects of treatment to us. Although now I am Mother, I can retrospectively understand why she was trying to protect us, it left my brother and I to believe she didn’t need our daily support and was coping fine. There was probably also an element of immaturity and allowing her to hide her struggles from us, and not having to deal with reality of what was going on; that we could have lost her. I would like to think if she had been diagnosed now, with my Brother and I 15 years older we would have seen through this façade and been more proactively there for her. I honestly at the time did not notice the changes in her appearance , I thought she looked beautiful throughout her treatment and she was always my ‘gorgeous Mummy’ but I am more aware of what changes she had to overcome, and I wish I was a better support and friend as it must have been a lonely and scary time.
‘'Mum, I am your biggest fan and thank you for raising me to be a fully-fledged, strong, independent adult who still (completely) needs their Mum pretty much all of the time.’’
I am so proud of my Mum and her co-trustees for turning their experiences into a positive project through their charity HeadWrappers. I sing their praises to friends, colleagues and anyone who will listen. I am in awe of the time and energy they put into making sure their services are available and worthwhile to the ladies that benefit them. Mum, I am your biggest fan and thank you for raising me to be a fully-fledged, strong, independent adult who still (completely) needs their Mum pretty much all of the time.
James and Andrew, sons of Karyn
I owe so much to my mother and I treasure the fact she is still with me today. Cancer and hair loss tries to rob women of their identity. My mum’s work helps keeps women headstrong at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. Sharing her experiences and helping others through such a tough period in their lives is a perfect example of who my mum is: a wonderfully kind-hearted person. I am so proud of who she is and grateful that cancer didn’t take any part of who she is away.
I was only five years old when my mother went through cancer, so the memories of that time are fuzzy. I get flashes of hair loss, wigs and frequent visits to doctors. While I only remember so much from back then, I do remember what my mum has done in the years afterwards.
‘'When cancer hits it can make you feel utterly powerless, and I’m honestly so proud every single day to say my mum fights to give people with cancer that power back.’’
I remember watching as she joined Breast Cancer Care to help those going through the same experience she had, when she left to start HeadWrappers and as she continues to throw her heart and soul into helping the new charity to grow.
The fact my mum survived cancer and now uses that experience to help others going through the same thing is just amazing. It reflects exactly who I know she is: the type of kind, loving, courageous person who always no matter what puts others ahead of herself.
When cancer hits it can make you feel utterly powerless, and I’m honestly so proud every single day to say my mum fights to give people with cancer that power back.