A Preston mum is using her festively decorated home to raise awareness and funds for research into brain tumours after her husband died as a result of the disease. AASMA DAY finds out more
Every year, Ann-Marie Woodcock and son Danny enjoy decorating their home with festive decorations which are admired by their neighbours.
This year, they have decided to use the colourful display to raise funds for a cause close to their heart and raise funds and awareness of brain tumours and the devastation they cause.
Ann-Marie Woodcock of Brindle Road, Bamber Bridge, lost her husband Lee to a brain tumour five years ago.
Lee, who was one of the first people in Preston to undergo brain surgery while awake, lost his fight for life at the age of 42 and his son Danny, now 12, was only seven at the time.
Lee was diagnosed with the brain tumour out of the blue at the age of 39 just as he was on his way back to the airport after a family holiday in Canada with family and friends.
Without warning, as he was driving the car, his right leg and arm started shaking violently and he lost control of the vehicle. Luckily, Anne-Marie managed to grab the wheel and bring the car to a standstill.
A scan at a Canadian hospital showed Lee had a brain tumour and urgently needed surgery.
The family flew home and Lee had the operation at Preston and was awake during surgery so surgeons could identify any problems during the operation.
Lee described how he could feel the sensations of the surgery but no pain and he even laughed and joked with medics during the procedure.
However, although the surgery was a success the tumour returned just months later and doctors revealed it was incurable.
Lee had radiotherapy and different kinds of chemotherapy but the treatment became too much for his body and failed to tackle the tumour. He lost his battle in December 2011.
Anne-Marie explains: “From Lee’s diagnosis to him passing away was just 33 months.
“It was completely devastating. You suddenly find your life is going to change for all the wrong reasons.
“It hit me hard but you have to try and adapt. I am a strong person and I wanted to be strong for Danny.
“It took me a while to get to this point, but this year, I have done a few fund raising events for The Brain Tumour Charity and I thought we could use our Christmas lights to raise some more money for the cause.
“We always put Christmas decorations up inside and outside and this year we thought we’d also put a fund raising box out there for people to make donations to The Brain Tumour Charity.”
As well as turning on their Christmas lights, Anne-Marie organised a Prosecco afternoon tea at her home and asked people to pay £10 for Prosecco and a variety of sweet and savoury food.
The event also featured a raffle, and competitions to win a hamper and bottles of wine and it raised £878.
She is now hoping to boost that further with the Christmas lights donation box.
Anne-Marie, who is now married to Michael Molloy who has two sons of his own, says: “I have been lucky enough to find happiness again.
“But what we went through with Lee was devastating as we were together for 15 years and married for 10 of them.
“Brain tumours are one of the most underfunded cancers and does not see the same level of funding as other cancers.
“For many people who are diagnosed with brain tumours, they are told more or less straight away that they have a terminal illness.
“With Lee, the tumour became progressively worse and he had lots of treatment but it was affecting his body too much.
“It was too dangerous to keep giving him chemotherapy so the tumour took a hold of him.
“Brain tumours change your life and the future you had planned and envisaged.
“I hope lots of people support The Brain Tumour Charity so hopefully one day a cure can be found.”