I'm a single mum-of-three and I've got months to live – how do I break it to my kids? | The Sun

A SINGLE mum-of-three has been given just a year to live and doesn't know how to break the news to her children.

Louise Hayward, 48, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in November 2020 – after noticing blood in the poo.

The mum from Whitchurch, Bristol recalled having such a severe bleed after going to the toilet that all she could do was "sit on a towel to stop the bleeding".

She said: "I felt like I was giving birth, that's how bad the pain was."

After initially putting off a visit to the doctor because of the pandemic, medics found a 7cm tumour in her bowel.

There are around 42,900 new bowel cancer cases in the UK every year.

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And around 16,800 people die after developing the disease, Cancer Research says.

She began chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but after two years, the single stay-at-home mum was told the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs.

But after two gruelling years of treatment she was told last November (2022) that doctors had run out of options.

"They told me there is nothing else they can do – I was devastated," Louise said.

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"All of this is so scary – I was never expecting to be told I was dying."

But Louise's main concern is for her children – William, 19, Faith, nine and Louie, seven – who she will leave behind.

"It's so unfair on them – I just think, why did they have to be born into this life?," she asks.

Her eldest son William, a mechanics apprentice, is aware of her prognosis, but her little ones have no idea.

"How do I tell them they're going to lose their mum at such a young age?"

She fears how they will cope as she has "done everything" for her children as a single parent.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer symptoms can be subtle but 90 per cent of people with the disease will experience one of the following:

  • a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain
  • blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids
  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss

Source: NHS England

"My little one, Louie, especially relies on me," she said.

Louise is spending her last months frantically raising cash to support her two youngest kids – who will be raised by her sister Rachel, 47, when she dies.

"It's so hard to accept that in reality, I am going to die soon."

"All I can do is try to raise some money for them after I have passed," she says.

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Bowel cancer is Britain’s second most deadly cancer but can be cured if it’s caught early enough. 

The screening age was lowered to people in their 50s in 2021 thanks to the The Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign, spearheaded by columnist Dame Deborah James.

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