I’m not sure I could have ever predicted my life! …
… And while there are parts of it that I would change just to see my son Tom again, to have my three children by my side, I really love what I do now. In 2010 our world changed forever when Tom was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and died just seven months later. It still doesn’t feel possible that it happened at all, let alone to us. We miss Tom every day now that he’s not with us anymore.
Very soon after Tom died, I needed to make a change in his name. After encountering seven months of devastating trauma completely unsupported, I wanted families whose children are diagnosed with brain tumours, or who lose their children, to be supported. I knew that with psychological help the traumatic journey we’d travelled could have been more bearable.
Although I was feeling very low, and not sure if I had the energy for something other than existing and giving what I had left to my family. More than anything, I wanted to make Tom proud, so I dedicated myself to changing the journey for other families like ours, and I did it in Tom’s name.
It was a daunting task, both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
We launched Tom’s Trust in 2011 and raised over £100,000 in 12 months to fund our first psychologist. It seemed unbelievable to have achieved such an incredible thing so quickly, but community is an amazing thing and everyone’s enthusiasm was remarkable as they got behind our vision.
We have worked hard to build Tom’s Trust so it can grow properly, leading the charity with a passion that comes naturally, but making sure it has the foundations to develop and expand. It has been a phenomenal journey and it’s difficult to describe the moments I’ve experienced along the way; the wonderful people I’ve met who have helped us flourish, and the families we have been honoured to support. We’ve laughed and cried, I’ve faced my fears of public speaking – which I now quite enjoy!
One of my richest moments was talking to children in a school about Tom’s Trust and having them openly share their hopes and fears, high our low moments. It was the best feeling knowing that the charity we’d built could inspire others.
My vision of Tom’s Trust is the same today as it was the first day, when I realised that I needed to make a change. It just felt like the most natural thing to do, to make change in Tom’s name, to support all the children with brain tumours and their families by providing psychology from the point of diagnosis. Children that wouldn’t have been supported without Tom’s Trust.Our dream to support every child with a brain tumour and their family in the UK is getting closer. It has taken us time to work out how to fundraise out of area, and now that we have started, our goal feels more accessible. In fact, we are delighted to be able to fund two new psychologists in Newcastle, who can support all children and their families in the North East.
It feels daunting sometimes and incredibly challenging, life it busy and there is always a ‘to do’ list, but I have an even bigger family now, it’s the Tom’s Trust family and I’m very, very proud to be a part of it.
We are currently crowdfunding and with just £1 you can change a child’s life
If you would like to volunteer for Tom’s Trust , please contact firstname.lastname@example.org