The mother’s of our young people provide on- going support and love to their children when they are diagnosed with cancer. They are strong and inspirational people so we wanted to take the time to recognise the unwavering love and support they give to our young people. Mums face an extremely tough journey of worry, uncertainty and stress. Watching your child go through cancer and it’s treatment can be one of the hardest things any parent will have to deal with. We caught up with Joanne Watkins who’s son Jacob was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and is now part of the MOVE 1:1 programme which is helping in his recovery from cancer and his operation.
Having been the super mum for your family and with Mother’s day coming up, we hope the kids are going to treat you. Do you have anything special planned?
I am unfortunately working a long day shift at LOROS 7.30am until 20.00pm! So I will be looking after other peoples mums on mother’s day.
Tell us a little bit about you and your family Jo?
I have been married to Paul for 25 years, where we met on a blind date when I was only 19 years old. We were soul mates and meant to be together for ever. We have Joshua who’s 19, Jacob 17, and Katie 15. We have always been a close and loving family.
Your son Jacob was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. Tell us a little bit about the day Jacob was diagnosed?
When Jacob was diagnosed with cancer, I was shocked initially, how can my fit 6 ft tall boy who’s played football for 10 years and goes to the gym get cancer? Then I was angry, why him, why us, life wasn’t fair. I felt totally heartbroken that my baby boy, even though he was 16 was going to have to go through such a devastating year. I wanted to have this to take it away from him, even though I knew I couldn’t.
How did it impact Jacobs treatment impact family life?
The impact was a severe devastation for family life. I was off sick from work for a whole year, my world was wrapped up in Jacobs. It most definitely brought us all much closer as a family mentally. No one argued anymore about silly things, but physically we were always in different places, so Josh and Katie had to adapt to this new normal, all of our lives changed.
I was always positive from day one that Jacob could and would fight this awful disease, he is a very strong and determined young man. I gained strength from him and the continued support from Paul, Josh, Katie as well as family and friends and work colleagues.
You’re a super strong and inspirational lady Jo and you provide the biggest support for your son. What do you think advice would you give other mums/parents & carers who are going through similar hard times.
In the hardest times of Jacobs journey, I would need to take things minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, this enabled me to cope, when times were hard. We have always been there for each other and this has enabled us to cope. I truly feel that you have to be honest and truthful about things so you can cope even though it’s such a scary .
Jacob has been part of the MOVE programmes since he finished treatment and is doing fantastic. What impact do you think the MOVE programmes have had on Jacobs recovery?
The MOVE charity has given Jacob the inspiration and ability through the exercise programme to regain his confidence, strength, self-esteem and to MOVE on with his life. Jacob and all our family will never forget 2016 but with the help and support of the very inspiring Gemma it will give him the strength to do or face anything that life has to offer.
What words do you live by:
I live by the quote: OUR FAMILY IS WHERE LIFE BEGINS AND LOVE NEVER ENDS