When Emma Grandison was diagnosed with terminal cancer while expecting her first child her life was turned upside down.
Baby Erin was born 15 weeks early after Emma started undergoing chemotherapy, she then married the love of her life, Ian, at a wedding organised by her best pals.
The bubbly new mum would be the first to admit that this year has been the hardest of her life – but she doesn’t want to dwell on it.
So Christmas in the Grandison household in Longton is to be a celebration, a time for family and friends.
For Emma was told by doctors that she wouldn’t be alive to see last Christmas, let alone this one.
Wearing a festive jumper and with a huge smile on her face Emma said: “I am very much looking forward to it. It’s the Christmas I was never meant to see.
“They said to me I wouldn’t see Christmas last year, if you see the photos of how ill I was but I thought don’t tell me what I can’t do.”
She will be spending tonight with her husband Ian’s family and tomorrow will be joined with her family for a meal out.
Boxing Day will be the time for resting, she said.
The 32-year-old added: “All I need is one more miracle. I have had all these other miracles. I have had a lot of surgery in the last few weeks. I have had pioneering treatment called SIRT.
“I have to wait for my scan in January. The operations are done with now, so that will be a big thing to see how it has worked I have been really really lucky to have that.
“They only do one person a week. They have been unbelievable, I have been really really lucky.
“I have got so many tumours on my liver that are inoperable, it’s to kill off those tumours that are inoperable.
“It’s waiting on the results now. My oncologist has been so supportive pushing for pioneering treatment and it helps that I am open to it.
“It was really hard being at The Christie, I wasn’t allowed around Erin for eight days. Hopefully it will be worth it.
“They said I wouldn’t survive last Christmas and I’m here for this Christmas – what else don’t they know?
“That’s all I need just one more miracle. Why can’t it be me who defies the odds?”
Emma continues to remain upbeat despite her prognosis, her friends have been hugely supportive since she was diagnosed and they have raised £40,000 for various charities this year including the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, the neo natal unit at the Royal Preston Hospital and Cancer Research UK and they have more events planned in the new year.
“This Christmas is phenomenally important to me. It’s a celebration of life and everything that my friends have done to support us and the charity,” she said.
“My friends have been so supportive, we are lucky we have such good family to support us so when our friends wanted to help we asked them to support the charities supporting us.”
She added: “It’s been a year of ups and downs. We have had really really hard days. Ian and Erin are the reason for me to get up every day.
“We have had really good times as well. You have to embrace life.
“If it wasn’t for Ian and Erin I don’t know where I would be.
“We are playing about with my medication at the minute to give me more energy. There’s some days where I’m stuck in bed which is upsetting when all I want to do it play and hug Erin.
“Ian really is the best dad.”
Erin arrived with a bang on bonfire night 2013 and was 15 weeks early, she spent five months in the neo natal unit before coming home in April this year.
Emma said: “She’s come on leaps and bounds. With being so premature she could have had eye sight or hearing problems but every single test she has performed she has excelled. They are really really chuffed with her.
“When she came off oxygen that was a massive day. They had said in winter time it’s unlikely she would come off so the closer it got we thought it wasn’t going to happen.
“Motherhood is great, I love it. It’s tiring. Any mother would be tired but I have the impact of everything else.”
For Emma the pain worse than any of her treatment is the fear of not seen her little fighter grow up.
She said: “I have written every single birthday card until her 18th. That was really really difficult.
“Me and Ian did a lot of travelling and that’s what I want her to do. I have put money in an ISA and in her 16th card I have said there’s this money and I want her to use it for travelling. In her 17th card I’ve asked questions about what she is planning and in her 18th I’ve asked where she is going.
“I have got a memory box for her too. I was really strict with the god parents, each one of them represents an aspect of my personality, she will know me through them.
“I have moments when I think ‘why me’ but then some times I think you’re only given what you can cope with. I think a lesser person would have diminished by now. For some reason I have been given this fight.
“It’s one of the hardest I have had to do.
“The one thing I want to see is to see her start school. I don’t think that it’s being selfish, I think that’s realistic.
“Me and Ian have had a lot of conversations about what I want. I have been open about what I want but at the same time she will know me through my family and friends.
“Just because I will be dead I will keep on going.”
She concluded: “The support from my family and friends is one of the many things that has kept me going.
“I know it’s a cliché to say the love in the room, but there’s no way I can imagine doing this on my own.”
To support Emma’s charities visit: https://www.justgiving.com/EmmaGrandison