My bit for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month #ablogaday

For lots of families, September signifies the return to school.  As teachers with three children, September has always been about a return to routine and learning but there has been a sense of excitement for the fresh start ahead.  For us now, September also marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM).  A month where the community involved with Childhood Cancer attempts to bring the subject to the forefront of conversation and media attention with the aim of raising awareness about the social, emotional, physical and financial impact of having a child cancer.  It will highlight the saddening mortality rates that face a diagnosis, the lack of funding and research relating to childhood cancer and the tough side effects of treatment on the child and their family.

Last year we spent hours as a family, making and distributing yellow ribbons, the symbol for childhood cancer, to friends, family, and footballers.  As a team, we felt empowered and proud to do something for the cause.  It gave us a visual and concrete message to send out that we were part of something that affected children and families all over the country, all over the world and we wanted our voices to be heard.

As September draws closer, our home will again be full of ribbons and safety pins, but this year I want our shout to be louder.  I want to share a day by day account of what it is like to parent a child with cancer.  I want to share what it is like to parent siblings of a child with cancer.  I want to share what it’s like for your marriage when your child is diagnosed with cancer.  I want to share how having a child with cancer impacts your relationship with your family, your friends and your colleagues.

This is my plan, I hope I achieve it!  Watch this space for my #blogaday for #CCAM and share with all you can.


Find the Wonderful in Today

Such a simple message but one which often gets overlooked in our busy and hectic lives.  The older we get, the more we seem to miss the wonder and awe in the world around us.  Find the Wonderful in Today is the family motto of the Codling Family – a unique family who now offer a sanctuary within the dunes of Perranporth in memory of their son Charlie.

In March 2012,  Charlie Codling was suddenly diagnosed with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an incurable brain tumour.  Devastatingly after only 5 months, Charlie passed away on 6 September 2012, just 2 weeks before his 5th birthday.  The family was fortunate to be surrounded by many amazing friends and family who not only gave them unwavering support but they also raised a staggering amount of money which helped them forge some wonderful memories with Charlie.

Charlie Codling

As a fitting memorial to Charlie, they decided to start the charity: Charlie’s Beach Hut Fund.   Charlie’s, is a beach hut style caravan at Perran Sands in Perranporth which aims to provide families of children with life limiting illnesses and families of firefighters that have suffered bereavement, or life changing injury whilst in the line of duty, a relaxing environment so they can forge some forever memories, in a hope that they too can ‘Find the Wonderful in Today’.

We were honoured to be invited to spend some time at Charlie’s just months after Felix was diagnosed.  This was the first date that we put in our diary; this was the first time we looked to the future.  That was April 2016 and we have just returned from a wonderful time away.


I have never visited a place before that is enriched with such emotion and tranquility.  You could feel the love, warmth and compassion emanating from all aspects of this special hut on the cusp of the sea.  With the sun on our faces and waves close by, we had all the therapy we needed in those five days.  We couldn’t help but be inspired by Charlie’s love for life, strength, humour and caring nature and found strength from spending time in his memory.  The proximity of the sea and the beautiful views allowed us to relax in the beauty of the natural world.  Although we never met Charlie, we will forever remember him, Karen, Steve, Freya and Isla as Charlie’s Hut provided us with such a sense of peace, love and togetherness which we could not have experienced anywhere else.

There are many charities such as Charlie’s Hut which are founded through loss of a loved-one.  These charities provide families a unique opportunity to look to the future and provide a sanctuary to make memories and simply enjoy living.  These charities mean so much to the families they help and support.

We will be forever grateful to Charlie’s Hut for the memories we made there.  It really is one of the most unique and awe-inspiring places you will ever find.

If you have two minutes, please help raise awareness about Charlie’s Beach Hut Charity and help more families Find the Wonderful in Today.  Thank you.



The boy in the sea​.

He looked so strong and invincible.

I wanted to reach out to him, to tell him that we had been in the same place but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t because I didn’t know what was wrong with him.  All I knew was that he was bald.  All I knew was that he looked like Felix did a year ago.  He was laughing and battling with the waves with such utter joy it was breathtaking.  Amongst the throng of surfers and body boarders, he looked liberated.

This is the image of childhood cancer which is often hidden.  These children are still kids who, when they get an ounce of opportunity, grab life with two hands and relish every moment.  These children will not be defined by their diagnosis.  They are still part of a family, part of a community and part of a dream.  They still have aspirations and hopes.  They still love life.

I don’t know if Felix noticed the boy.  I’m hoping he did but in the same way he noticed the lady on the board with red hair or the young lad who was struggling to keep hold of his board in the wind.  The boy in the sea to him was just another person.

For me, the boy symbolised so very much.  It reminded me of where we were and how far we had come.  It made me think about all that we had learned and how we had grown.  I was in awe of him and his family who were probably close by, watching carefully as he fought the waves and jumped with joy.  I felt proud to observe these small but important and lasting memories being made.

To the boy in the sea, I salute you.  You are the epitome of strength and determination; Thank you for sharing your joy and exuberance for us all to enjoy.

Croyde Bay ~ July 2017