Chorley woman raising money for family of mum and daughter who both have cancer

A Chorley woman is spending lock-down supporting the family of a mum and daughter who both have cancer.

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 3:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 10:36 am

Janine Coghlan (36) is raising £650 to help provide special memories for a single mum-of-two battling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). This condition, also known as myelodysplasia, is a type of rare blood cancer where you do not have enough healthy blood cells.

Linzi Temple, also of Chorley, started her second round of chemotherapy at Blackpool Victoria Hospital last week and doctors are hopeful that she will recover.

Janine, who moved into 35-year-old Linzi's house at the end of March to help take care of her two girls, said: "What has been thrown at this family is shocking and not once have they complained. They're just amazing.

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"Me and Linzi's ex-partner Lee are shell-shocked. We're always wondering where the next obstacle or meal will come from."

Linzi also received the devastating news that her mum has terminal cancer during the same week she was first told she would need chemotherapy. Her mum has been told she could have just two months left to live.

Her diagnosis follows several months of stomach pain, which she had put down to the impact of grief, having lost her own mum in December.

Janine added: "It's a very quick, horrific cancer and we don't know if she'll still be here when Linzi gets out of hospital."

Linzi was diagnosed with anemia when she was just 18 and was treated with iron supplements.

But when her fatigue worsened, she decided to go to her GP for a fuller investigation. Doctors discovered she had cancer at the beginning of March and she began having chemotherapy that same month.

But she ended up in hospital for six weeks when she developed sepsis.

She came home for a few weeks in April before returning to hospital, where she will now spend four weeks having her second round of chemotherapy.

After a fortnight at home, Linzi will then be transferred to the Christie Hospital in Manchester for a bone marrow transplant.

"Lee has given up his job and is sleeping on Linzi's sofa to look after their children full-time, so they have no income, but he's doing amazingly," said Janine.

The family is also anxious about one of their dogs, who has just had a life-saving operation to treat bladder stones.

Janine, who is friends with Lee, says she is now "inseparable" from Linzi after getting to know her during this time.

The RE teacher, who works at Hutton Grammar School, has been helping seven-year-old Lacie and nine-year-old Ebony with their lessons, as well as crafting and baking for neighbours.

"I'm up in the night with them if they're upset, I've been doing the shopping and helping to care for Linzi too, with things like bathing," she said.

"She has no immune system, so there is constant fear that she could catch the coronavirus. Many nights, Lee and I have stayed up because we've been so anxious.

"During the day, we're trying to distract the girls and keep them as strong as possible. They're used to seeing their nana every day, so I'm trying to keep them in a routine."

Janine, who is mum to a 13-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy with autism, added: "My kids have had to share me, and my family has been amazing.

"Lock-down has been horrific. I'm so tired. I have an autoimmune disease [arthritis, which causes the body to mistakenly attack normal cells], so I'm at risk.

"But Linzi's need is greater than mine.

"I'm trying to make sure the kids, Linzi and Lee are all safe, and that there's food in the house and that everything is organised. It's really hard.

"Me and my husband sat down at the start and made a decision to help the girls continue their education.

"Having to leave my family was devastating. I'm on the phone to them lots and I'm so proud of my kids and husband. We've been together for 17 years. He's my best friend and we're not built to be apart. It's been a family effort."

Janine has made Linzi a scrapbook to fill with special memories and has raised £600 in just four days to help pay for days out for the family following the bone marrow transplant.

"She's so strong and happy, and always has a smile on her face. Everything she does is for the girls," said Janine.

"I want so much for them to have something to look forward to when their mum has recovered, even if it's just a few days, so they don't have to think about the doom and gloom, and to give these girls a little bit of hope and excitement.

"How amazing would it be to be able to say, 'This is what you're going to do with your mum'?"

Commenting on the community's support of the fund-raiser so far, she said: "I'm absolutely overwhelmed and gobsmacked. Even though people have been furloughed, they have still found it in their hearts to donate something.

"Many of them haven't even met Linzi but they appreciate her strength and journey."

She added: "This woman is remarkable. She is dealing with it all with grace and strength and a smile on her face.

"She doesn't want pity and is so grateful that her girls have got so many people looking after them."

And it seems that for Janine, it means everything to be able to support her friend, having been given a helping hand when she hit her own rock bottom as a teenager.

"I was homeless when I was 16 and had a very violent upbringing. I'm not sure I would be here without the help of others," she said.

"So I'm a firm believer in putting other people first. No-one should do this alone. I just believe you get a sense of peace from helping others.

"I really hope the world changes after this pandemic, and that people see we're stronger together than apart."