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What can I tell you about Lee?

My son was a fun, friendly, outgoing boy, full of energy – he had a foot in the door of all that life had to offer, ready to take the world by storm. Then at age 11, blood cancer took all that away from him. And then it took him away from us.

I remember our last Christmas together. Lee was starting his first round of chemotherapy on Christmas Day. But on Christmas Eve all he wanted was to get out of the ward he’d been stuck in for weeks.

We were able to take him home for one night, just in time for the Christingle service that he loved.

It was always magical, with candles all around. Lee hadn’t wanted to miss out on his Christingle tangerine covered in icing sugar and jelly tots! It was the start of our family Christmas every year and I’ll always treasure my memory of that service – a perfect moment that stands out amidst all the illness and pain and grief.

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Elizabeth Anne with her son Lee

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More precious moments followed when I got to wake up at home with both my children on Christmas morning, and watch Lee unwrap his presents. We had the telly on in the background and they were playing “All I want for Christmas is you”. It’s funny, isn’t it, how sometimes songs come on that seem like they’ve been picked for that moment?

I’ve never been much of a one for praying, but that Christmas I prayed. I knew in my heart that Lee was in the very best of hands, but sometimes even that is just not enough. All the love and prayers in the world didn’t save Lee, but your donation might help spare others from having to walk this path.

Will you donate today to give families the gift of many more Christmases to come?

Our last Christmas

Lee loved the Christingle tangerine... mostly because it covered in icing sugar and jelly tots!

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Lee's light shines on in Michelle's research

I first talked to Michelle a few weeks after we came home without Lee. She's a blood cancer researcher, and after speaking with her it felt like this dark, dark space suddenly had a bright light shining into it.

Michelle explained she was looking into the link between the Epstein-Barr virus and Burkitt lymphoma, the type of blood cancer that took our beautiful boy from us. Thanks to Blood Cancer UK funding, every year Michelle’s work is taking us closer to understanding how this virus develops into lymphoma. If we can understand how it happens, maybe we can stop it.

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Elizabeth with blood cancer researcher Michelle West

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The research that they are all doing is so, so important.

Childhood blood cancer research has seen amazing progress over the last 50 years – it’s been transformed from a disease that was almost always a death sentence into one that most children now survive.

Because of the pandemic and the rising infection rate, this Christmas will be very different. I know some of you won’t be together with your families, and some of you will be missing those we have lost. I’ve had too many tears to enjoy our Christingle service again, but who knows, maybe this year I might watch if they hold it online, just to see those candle lights shining in the dark.

But whatever I’m doing, it would be a great comfort to think that reading this has inspired you to make a donation this Christmas.

So, please, give whatever you can.

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