My bucket list is creating magical memories for my kids

Friday 9 September 2016

We've just come back from New York which is a fabulous big tick off my bucket list. That list is making happy memories for my family and gives me light at the end of the tunnel. If you haven't got light, what have you got?"

Sarah, who was diagnosed with brain tumours after the birth of Ava, seven, and Jenson, three.

As Glen and Robyn discussed a bucket list in Casualty's ongoing brain tumour storyline, which we've advised on, Sarah knows how this gives you the most important thing of all…

Hope

Taking a selfie in New York's Times Square, Sarah and Steve look like any other young happy couple enjoying each other's company on a carefree trip.

But six months after Ava was born, Sarah was diagnosed with a brain tumour and another one after she had Jenson three years ago.

Now, although she faces many challenges, she is determined to fill her family's life with love and laughter.

For in that photo in those precious freeze-framed moments she and Steve are a carefree couple, thanks to Sarah's bucket list.

Poignantly, her list of hope includes having a belly laugh every day, making a den in the garden for Ava and Jenson to play in when she's ill and 'watching my babies grow for as long as possible.'

She's ticked off teaching them swim and ride a bike and making snow angels with Ava – although she hates snow!

Along with swimming with great white sharks in South Africa, going to Dubai and Singapore, she wants to meet David Beckham and eat at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.

She's already done a sky dive, bungee jump, learned to ride a motor bike and did the Great North Swim for us in June when she raised over £4000 and still counting.

Just six months after she gave birth to Ava, Sarah was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“After my diagnosis, the next few weeks were a blur. I felt lost and frightened, “said Sarah.

“But my strength came back when I looked at my tiny baby girl and swore nothing would take me away from her.

“I had to hear her say Mama and see her wobbly first steps. Doctors agreed I could have surgery after sharing Ava's magical first Christmas before I had surgery."

During the nine-and-a-half hour op, surgeons removed the whole tumour. Biopsy results confirmed it was a haemangioblastoma.

Four years later, Sarah's first MRI after Jenson was born showed another brain tumour.

“We were overwhelmed with fear, anger and sadness. How could this be happening to my little crew again?" she said.

“But, again, I told myself I was a mum and I wasn't going anywhere until I'd seen if my baby boy's eyes changed colour. I was determined to show my family, especially Ava, that no matter what life throws at us, we always try our best."

So Sarah drew up a mini bucket list before more surgery: To have Jenson's christening and celebrate his and Ava's birthdays. It gave her a focus.

During the eight-hour operation in May 2014, surgeons removed another haemangioblastoma.

But her bucket list keeps her positive.

“It gives me light at the end of the tunnel and helps me make the most of every day," said Sarah.

“It's been a crazy old time in our household over the past few years and sadly it will continue to be until my time is up.

“But I hope my list is creating happy memories for my family of our amazing times together and teaching my children the most precious lesson of all – life is for living."

Steve said: “Every child deserves a living angel, someone who will never get fed up and give up on them, someone who understands every beat of their heart. That is Sarah. My inspiration."

Sarah's bucket list

  1. Swim with Great White Sharks in South Africa
  2. Swim The Great North Swim, for The Brain Tumour Charity - done
  3. 15,000ft sky Dive- done
  4. Visit NYC- done
  5. Bungee Jump- done
  6. Learn to ride a motorbike - done
  7. Pass my line manager programme & be assigned - done
  8. Drive a super car
  9. Teach Ava and Jenson to swim & ride a bike- done
  10. Eat at a Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay restaurant

Sarah's full bucket list


1. Swim with Great White Sharks in South Africa

2. Swim The Great North Swim, for The Brain Tumour Charity - done

3. 15,000ft sky Dive- done

4. Visit NYC- done

5. Bungee Jump- done

6. Learn to ride a motorbike - done

7. Pass my line manager programme & be assigned - done

8. Drive a super car

9. Teach Ava and Jenson to swim & ride a bike- done

10. Eat at a Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay restaurant

11. Meet David Beckham or get his autograph for growing celebrity signed collection.

12. Go snorkelling with Ava & Jenson abroad – done

13. Walk Over Brooklyn Bridge- done

14. Get a tattoo - done

15. Make the kids a play den in the garden so they both have somewhere to go & play when I'm poorly - epic fail so far

16. Shave hair off for Charity - done

17. Go to as many F1 races as possible

Silverstone - done

Hungary- done

Monte Carlo- done

Dubai- x

Singapore- x

18. Meet Jenson Button & Lewis Hamilton

19. Climb a mountain

20. Go Camping with Ste & the kids- done

21. Make my family proud ?? I think I have

22. Do a random act of kindness- done

23. Make a snow Angel with the kids- done….. (and I hate the snow)

24. Stop biting my nails- done

25. Give blood - done

26. Register as an Organ Donor - done

27. Become better at reading & writing, also help Ava & Jenson to learn- ongoing

28. Belly laugh at least once a day- always

29. Raise money for charity

30. Go to a concert - done

31. Visit Ireland

32. See a comedian- done

33. Join a football team- done

34. Go canoeing- done

35. Go on a cruise- done

36. Eat chocolate for dinner - done

37. Helicopter ride around NYC- done

38. Get a family drawn portrait.

39. Spa day done

40. Stand at the very top of the Eiffel Tower - done

41. Zip Line

42. Watch my babies grow for as long as possible

43. Be as nice person as I can be

44. Visit Scotland- done

45. Go fishing with the tribe- done

46. Learn to cook the perfect Sunday Lunch for Steven – not going so well!

47. Watch a beautiful sun set

48. Paint balling

49. Go to hot springs in Iceland

50. Dance until my feet get sore