Wish letters: Dear Freya, my sister whose bravery inspires me
It feels like only yesterday that I got that call from mum to say you’d been taken into hospital, the last 4 years have been such a blur.
When you first started with the sickness, headaches and dizziness, I, nor any of our family, thought it was anything serious.
You hear all these stories about cancer but you never think it is going to happen to your own family.
I remember mum running up to me, I was volunteering at my local Brownie group and she told me the optician had found something behind your eyes.
Her face said it all. It all went so quickly – from then onwards, minutes turned into hours, hours into days, days into weeks and weeks into months which you spent in hospital.
The words ‘cancer’ and ‘brain tumour’ were so scary to me as a 16 year old at the time, let alone you as an 11 year old.
I cannot believe how brave you were throughout the whole process.
You were rushed from our local hospital straight up to London on blue lights to be taken into emergency surgery.
Typical Freya – you were over the moon to have a blue light run in a fast ambulance!
You spent a couple of weeks in intensive care, at the time I was taking my GCSE exams so I travelled up to the hospital after my exams every day to come and see you and bring you lots of presents!
You were so brave and constantly had the nurses and doctors in fits of laughter throughout the whole of your treatment. We spent time working on your walking, going to and from the playroom, going over to the window to look out at the wonderful sights of London and of course – people watching!
Then you started your long road of chemo and radiotherapy as well as other operations.
We spent every day of the summer holidays travelling to the hospital for your treatment, but it was never a dull moment we always made it into fun and games! You were very well known by all the treatment staff for your brilliant sense of humour.
It wasn’t nice to see the way the treatment affected you, the sickness was horrible.
For me, the worst was when your hair started to fall out.
It didn’t just fall out, it came out in chunks and chunks, and it was so heart-breaking that we used to have such similar hair and yours was now all gone. But of course, this didn’t faze you, you were chuffed with your multi-coloured bandanas!
You made me an extremely proud older sister whilst you were battling all of this. Even when we were out and about and people would stare at you for having no hair or for being sick in public, it still didn’t bother you.
It would make me so angry but you just took it in your stride, for an 11 year old this astounds me.
When the Make-A-Wish ladies came to visit us, we all got so excited thinking about all the things to choose from. Which celebrity to meet, which country to visit, what new gadget to get? You thought long and hard about it and wanted your wish to benefit us, your family as well as yourself which I can’t thank you enough for.
I will never ever forget the week we had in Finland, it was out of this world. We were treated to all sorts of festive magic! It was everything we could have all hoped for after such difficult times. Seeing the smile and joy on not only your face, but the other Make-A-Wish families visiting, was so heart-warming.
Being a sibling of a child with such a serious illness isn’t easy. A lot of people say you get “forgotten about”. I would never say I was forgotten about but quite rightly the sick child gets a lot of attention.
I was pretty busy taking my GCSE exams at the time so I was keeping myself going but was extremely hard for me to see you like that and have to spend nights at other people’s houses, especially as we are so close.
I am absolutely petrified of heights so when I told you I was going to do a 15,000 foot skydive, you thought I was joking!
I still don’t think it has sunk in myself that I will be jumping out of a plane but you have taught me that you can do anything you can set your mind to and I am so grateful to Make-A-Wish for what they did for us, I would do anything to give back a thank you and help other children like you.
I can truly say that it was the most incredible experience of my life, but what made it more special was the fact the whole way down I was taking in the views thinking about you Freya, and all the other children who will benefit from the money I have raised. Who would have thought I conquered my fear of heights ey?!
The wish gave the whole family a break. It helped both me and my mum to meet others in our position, going through very similar problems. My friends back home didn’t always understand as much as they tried – it is difficult to understand the bad days we went through.
When I’m having a bad day, I think about how brave you’ve been and how you are today – you still inject yourself everyday with your growth hormone treatment as a result.
It helps me to get through whatever I am struggling with, remembering if you’ve been through what you have, then I can do anything.
Thank you for making me so proud and staying strong through everything and being there for me. You show me that you can do anything you put your mind too.
Lots of love, Lois x