Last January, when Roisin Pelan was told she had cancer for a second time, her dream of extending her family by adopting a child was crushed.
The 37-year-old, from Lea, was elated when she was initially approved to adopt in November 2017, after being in remission one year following her first cancer diagnosis whilst pregnant with her daughter Ivy.
But just a few months later, she received the ultimate blow as she read the words ‘Roisin understands adoption is no longer possible because her cancer is incurable.’
As she faced more gruelling treatment, she has now been re-approved to adopt.
Roisin says: “This feels like the longest pregnancy ever. We are so relieved. I suppose you can compare it to when a women has her first scan and everything is okay so she can tell people.”
Roisin was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 when she was 34 weeks pregnant with her first child, Ivy.
She was successfully treated and after two years in remission, she applied to adopt a baby boy with her fiance Michael Brown in January 2017.
They were granted approval in November that year, but things soon fell apart the following January when Roisin discovered a lump in her neck.
She recalls: “We wanted to wait until after Christmas as we were renovating our house. Then in January we were starting to look for a match. Our daughter Ivy was really excited. But on January 6 I found a lump in my neck. I was diagnosed with cancer again and was told it was incurable which was horrific. We were thinking about Ivy and our future and how we had planned a bigger family that year.
“But when a letter from my oncologist said: ‘Roisin understands adoption is no longer possible because her cancer is incurable,’ it was horrible. That was such a difficult letter to receive, especially as it has not really been discussed with me. It was just assumed adoption was not an option. I didn’t know how long I had. I assumed that day that I was going to die.
“I had a second opinion at The Christie who said although it was advanced it was not stage 4 and that it was 3c. It had spread around my body to my lymph nodes, arm and neck, but not my organs.
“They said they would do everything they could and that was all I needed to hear.
“This completely turned everything around for me. I will be on chemotherapy forever but on a mild dose.”
As Roisin has been responding well to her treatment, Roisin received the letter she never thought she would read: that there was no reason why she could not adopt.
Roisin says: “I got the best letter ever saying I was responding well and there was no cancer in my body. The letter said the team could not see why I could not look after a child into adulthood and my oncologist recommended us for adoption.
“I had an appointment with the medical agency to discuss what would happen if the cancer came back and how much excellent support I have around me. Michael is a brilliant dad.”
Roisin and Michael are now waiting to find the right match for the family.
She says: “There are not a lot of children available for adoption right now, but that could change overnight. We could get a phone call tomorrow saying we have the right match and then it could take as little as three weeks.
“We are looking for a boy aged two or under. Then we would meet with the social worker and have a bridging process where we spend two weeks living with them and doing the daily things the foster family were doing.”
Roisin adds her five-year-old daughter Ivy is looking forward to meeting her little brother and the family is planning ahead.
She says: “Ivy thinks we are growing him in our hearts which is adorable. She wonders why it is taking us much longer to grow in our hearts. She can’t wait to share the experience of Christmas with him and wants someone to play with. She has already asked if he will help me take her to school. We have bought him his first teddy and we are hoping he will be our page boy at our wedding next June.”
Throughout her cancer journey, Roisin has been keen to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
She has taken part in the charity’s Race for Life in recent years and is ready to take on Pretty Muddy at Moor Park on June 15 with her partner Michael, Ivy and some friends.
She adds: “I want to raise money to find a cure. In 20 years’ time CRUK hopes to have four out of five people cured of breast cancer and in 40 years’ time everyone with breast cancer will be cured, which is amazing, but the charity needs money to research it all.
“I am thinking about Ivy, my nieces and nephews and friends’ children who will never have to go through it.
“If anything happens and it comes back, it will be horrific, but when Ivy grows up, she won’t have to go through it.
“I can’t wait to do Pretty Muddy. Michael is joining me as men can now enter. Ivy is ding the kids one. I am not sure how she will feel about getting muddy but she will be fine.”
Pretty Muddy Kids and adults takes place at Moor Park on Saturday June 15. Race for Life 5k and 10k takes place at Moor Park on Sunday June 16.
To enter visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.
Anyone entering this week, until June 10, can get half price entry by using code SUMMER50.