Whenever her son Theo asks her why she’s crying lately, Emma Shaw has told him she has a cold.
But it’s really because she’s battling stage IV breast cancer, and she’s afraid of losing her life because it means she’ll have to leave her son.
Shaw, who lives in Rothley in Leicestershire, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in March of 2017. It’s typically an aggressive form of the disease, and she went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Her family, friends, and especially Theo gave her the strength she needed to fight the cancer. It had just been her and Theo for a very long time, and they are incredibly close.
In November of that year, she was told she was cancer free.
Then, in February of 2018, she meet her boyfriend Darren, who “slotted perfectly” into their lives.
They went on vacation together, but when they got back, Shaw started feeling poorly.
She ended up in the hospital for three weeks due to pneumonia, but scans found something else that was affecting her health as well: the breast cancer she had beat less than a year ago was back, and in her liver.
The 40-year-old mom was devastated. Life had been “perfect,” and now she was facing a lot of uncertainty and fear.
“I look at [Theo] and cry,” she said. “He keeps asking me, ‘Why are you crying mummy’. I keep blaming a pretend cold but really I just want to stab cancer to death for everybody who is in my situation.”
Shaw spent a lot of time looking into potential treatments — which was “soul-destroying” because it’s time that she could be spending with loved ones.
There is treatment available in the United States that isn’t available in the U.K., and Shaw is hopeful she can get to America for the treatment as soon as possible. However, the cost is about £90,000.
“Theo just knows that mummy needs more treatment and he accepts that I need more time in bed,” Shaw said. “He is a really good boy, but he is only eight years old. I have to try to get this treatment, because I need him to know that mummy tried.”
Shaw’s older sister, Kate, also fought breast cancer recently, and beat it. This has given Shaw hope.
Shaw created a crowdfunding page to help cover the costs, as she’d have to live in the U.S. for a few months to get the treatment, which is not cheap.
“I know we all have our stories to tell,” Shaw wrote on her JustGiving page, “and I know that life, financially, can be a struggle but I am asking for as little or as much as you can give and in return I will be forever grateful. Please help me make more time in the place where I have finally found my happiness.”
At the time of this posting, she has raised £35,846, which is just about 40% of her goal.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.