Blog: Zoe's story

Zoe's mum Julie lost her life to a brain tumour last year. Julie started the Heads Up supporter group, which has raised more than £44,000.

BBC drama Casualty's Glen telling his girlfriend Robyn to “remember me and smile" in its brain tumour storyline, which we advised on, was a bitter-sweet moment.

It is an emotion Zoe understands all too well. Her vibrant mum, Julie, died in January last year, seven years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Now she remembers her mum with smiles as well as tears; and is trying to show her daughter, Freya, how to do the same.

Zoe says; “My mum had a magical smile. It made her whole face light up. I instantly smile when I remember how if something really made her giggle, tears streamed stream down her face and she wouldn't be able to speak!

“But she saved her biggest smiles for her grandchildren, Freya, who was four when she died, and Huey who was only two. Sadly, she never met Robin who was born 11 months after she died. I know she would have adored him, too.

“Now she's nearly six, Freya is starting to understand more about our loss. She's still often sad and tearful. But it's so important to me that she is able to smile, too, when she remembers her Nana."

“I keep promising her that the time will come when remembering Nana will only fill our hearts with warmth; and that there will be no room for any sadness.

“But I don't think she believes me yet. In her little mind, she can't see how we can be happy that Nana has gone. I will keep promising her, though, as I know that's how Mum would have wanted to be remembered.

“Now I read my children stories Mum wrote about her childhood, Curly Girl, and one of her favourite verses her dad used to recite:

'A smile costs nothing, but gives much.

It enriches those who receive,

without making poorer those who give.

It takes but a moment,

but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.'

“People as special as Mum are never forgotten. We miss her every day – but always try to remember her with a smile."