Originally from Bangladesh, I came to the UK in 2002 with my husband.
I was happily married and we had a son, Ryan. In 2014 my husband, who was only 35 at the time, was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia – a very aggressive form of cancer. He was unwell and had treatment for about 7 months before he passed away.
It was very tragic and traumatic for all of us. It takes an awfully long time to get your head around so many things when you lose somebody.
All of Ryan’s activities were put on hold while his dad was poorly but then I tried to get him back on to his normal routine. It was hard for me but I did manage to get him back into a routine. But before we could settle down properly, I was hit by more bad news when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The doctor said I was going to have to have a mastectomy and they were going to do an immediate reconstruction. They had to graft from my tummy to reconstruct my breast. It was a massive operation. The doctor said I’d be bed bound for at least 12 weeks. That worried me a lot because of Ryan.
When I was diagnosed with cancer I thought, “Well I have to ask for help, I can’t really do it on my own. There is absolutely no one else to help me.”
So I shouted out for help. And I did get the help. There are nice people. There are nice organisations like Safe Families to help people like us in difficult times.
I was a little bit worried because I hadn’t been in this situation before and trusting somebody else with your child as a mum is a difficult thing to do! But the volunteers were absolutely fantastic and they made Ryan feel so comfortable with them. They took care of everything and organised things for Ryan so when I was poorly he could carry on with his normal routine activities. That was a big worry off my shoulders.
The hardest thing was family wise. Me and Ryan, we don’t have any support over here. It was really hard. I was missing my family terribly, not having anyone to talk to or anyone close by. So the volunteers kind of became part of my family. They used to come in and we’d have a cup of tea and chat about so many things.
I’m really grateful to Safe Families as an organisation and all those volunteers who offer their support in a time of need.