When her eight-year-old son Jeremiah died from cancer, Nicole found leaving the hospital and returning home to the country isolating. “It’s very difficult to leave hospital whether your child lives or dies,” reflects Nicole. “I didn’t have other parents to talk to who understood. It was very lonely.”
"I think about some of the things said in the telegroup every day. I tell myself ‘I can do this because they are doing this too’. I know I’m not alone."Jeremiah (pictured right and below) had been diagnosed with a high-grade tumour called a ‘glioma’ which had metastasised down his spinal cord. He underwent intensive treatment including the highest dose of radiation therapy that can be administered and four high-dose rounds of chemotherapy. During this time, Redkite was able to provide Nicole and her family a Red Bag containing essential support items as well as financial assistance. Financial assistance helped with household expenses and petrol costs to help Jeremiah’s father get to hospital.
Jeremiah, who Nicole describes as “Mister Christmas” because of his love of the festive season, was still undergoing treatment when Christmas came around. Nicole says, “it was huge,” when a Redkite Christmas food hamper was delivered to the family. “The kids were so excited,” she remembers. “It was really thoughtful.”
“Cancer is the great leveller. It knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, we all deeply, deeply love our children.”
A few months after Christmas, Jeremiah quickly deteriorated and was rushed back to hospital. His cancer had returned and Jeremiah died on 5 March 2010. To help her through this period, Nicole decided to join a Redkite Telegroup, a professionally facilitated telephone support group, which brought together bereaved parents. “The telegroup changed my life,” says Nicole. “You realise how similar your journey is. It was amazing how many times someone would say something and I’d think ‘oh that’s it!’”
“Cancer is the great leveller,” Nicole reflects. “It knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, we all deeply, deeply love our children.”
Nicole has stayed in contact with the parents who participated in the telegroup. “I think about some of the things said in the telegroup every day. I tell myself ‘I can do this because they are doing this too’. I know I’m not alone.”
In summing up the impact of Redkite’s services, Nicole says, “Redkite helps you be there more for your children. After Jeremiah’s death, Redkite’s support helped me be there for my daughter and husband.”
Nicole says that through Jeremiah’s cancer journey she came to understand the power of giving. “What you give has such an impact. It can literally mean the difference between a father spending an extra day with his son. My husband looks back now and says ‘thank god I got a chance to spend time with my son’. Because of Redkite we got to be together as a family.”
– August 2011
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