But this was not just another coffee or playdate. In fact, from the moment I met Jo this morning there was a gigantic elephant in the room and after chatting some more about motherhood it was time for me to invite the elephant into the conversation. I wish I hadn’t had to acknowledge him at all.
You see, Jo is dying.
I have typed and deleted dying several times in the writing of this post because it kept jumping out at me from my laptop as being too direct, too frank perhaps, yet I’ve re-typed it because it’s the reality. It’s a very difficult reality to process.
At 37, and a mummy to five-year-old Rudey, Jo is the only known person in the world to be suffering from not one but TWO terminal illnesses and she is dying.
How fucking unfair is that?
In April, Jo was given just weeks to live. Nearly seven months later and she is still here, chatting, smiling, wrapping her arms around her boy and pulling him in for a snuggle in the way only a mum can. Rudey, who chirpily wakes Jo up every day with his signing and says he loves his mummy ‘up to the castle at the top of the hill,’ remains her focus and motivation.
Jo is determined to get to him, in fact she IS going to get to him and sets off for America next week where she will spend the best part of three months in Arizona. This is far from a holiday. As she is too poorly to fly she will be undertaking a mammoth 12 day voyage by boat, train, bus and taxi with best friend Sarah who has been heading up the Breathe for Jo campaign which aims to raise £70,000 to cover the cost of the trip (including tests, resulting treatments, travel and accommodation).
So that is why I am writing this post. Jo is asking for help. I’m going to be open with you because I have always pledged honesty on this blog and if you make a donation because you have read this post I want you to do so for the right reasons. Donations are not funding a miracle treatment. There is no guarantee that Jo’s trip to America will be a success. It could be fruitless.
But Jo wants to go. Jo has pinned her hopes on this trip, a trip she has admitted is her last chance to do something proactive in her fight to see her boy through more of primary school than just his first year. I’ve never truly understood the term ‘fighting spirit’ but I saw it today.
1) Will there be a swimming pool?
2) Can he take his Lego?
Of course those are his concerns. He is five. His Mummy was told she wouldn’t make his 5th birthday but she did. She has been told she won’t make his 6th birthday. Maybe she won’t. But she wants to give this a shot and I would like to help her. I am sharing in case you would like to help her too.
There will be no endless plugging of fundraising appeals here on the blog and I am not going to ask you to donate in the same way I do not ask you to share my blogs – you will like and share only if you want to and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I went over to Jo’s for a cuppa because when somebody in your neighbourhood is dying it’s kind of instinctive to ask them if there is anything you can do. I am shit at making casseroles and as 300,000 people are mad enough to follow my ramblings about wonky-fringed Barbie tantrums (and the fucking pumpkin) I figured this is all I can do.
You can read more about Jo’s story and donate to the campaign here. Campaign video below.