For one brave 8-year-old girl in Benfleet, Essex, life changed forever in one day. Roxy’s mother, Vicky Fenn passed away after a two-year fight with breast cancer, leaving her daughter orphaned.
During the summer of 2016, Vicky’s partner, Bob, passed away in his sleep at the age of 55 due to problems with his heart. Almost a year to the day later, after a mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy, Vicky was diagnosed with stage III grade III invasive lobular triple negative breast cancer at the age of 36. She was given just two years to live.
But Vicky wasn’t about to just give up on life. She got to work right away, immediately becoming an advocate for breast self-exams and encouraging mammograms for younger women. She began planning as well, both for her death and for her life.
“After my terminal diagnosis, I immediately booked Roxy and I on a plane to Florida for a bucket list holiday,” she said.
Vicky also began making two baby blankets—one pink and one blue—for Roxy’s future children, as well as planning a plethora of gifts and letters to celebrate all of the important milestones in Roxy’s life that she worried she would miss.
“Roxy’s already lost a parent,” said Vicky. “I’ve not even lost a parent. And now she’s facing the prospect of losing both her mummy and daddy. I’m not the unlucky one, she is.”
Roxy isn’t the only one who has been mourning Vicky’s illness and death, however. The rest of her friends and family have been supporting her in every way they can. Vicky’s father has felt the loss perhaps more profoundly than anyone else.
“My dad too, he’s heartbroken,” Vicky said. “It’s not the way round it’s supposed to happen for him. He wanted me to outlive him, not the other way around.”
Vicky passed away on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. A post about the sad event was made to her Facebook page, Fenn’s Fighters, the next morning:
“It’s with a heavy heart that I have to let you all know that Vicky went to sleep at 11:30 last night. She was peaceful, pain free and surrounded by Family. Her fight is over. Thank you all for your kind messages of love and support over the last few days and we will share funeral arrangements next week. Lots of love to all Fenn’s Fighters.”
Rest in peace, Vicky. Your legacy will live on.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?