17 Sep Words and Feelings by Auntie Jodie ~ A Guest Blog by Jodie Bright
It was a normal day in our household, it was around 6pm and the phone rang. To be honest, I was pretty annoyed as anyone with young children would know this is the ‘play me up hour’ with the screams of tiredness, wanting to put on their nightclothes but not physically having the strength to get them! The witching hour. My husband answered the phone and passed it on. It was my sister Zoe, I could tell her voice wasn’t right, she quickly asked how I was then continued with the words ‘they think Felix has leukaemia’ followed by, ‘don’t ring Mum and Dad as they are just taking it in’.
I was numb, then a bit, who said? Why? How’s Kerry? Where is Kerry? Where is Fe? Are they ok? Tears starting to stream down my face, a million questions going round in my head, but I couldn’t get the words out to ask them. I hung up the phone, gathering myself, holding it in as I didn’t want my children seeing me upset, I didn’t want to talk about it as talking made it seem real. With the children in bed, I broke down. Searching the internet trying to get some understanding of what the next few years would entail. Messaging family, as talking on the phone, was too painful. The next few days passed in a blur. Kerry just wanted humour, she didn’t want sadness, so this is how we all coped in the first few months. Always looking on the bright side, no dwelling on why Fe, but more let’s beat this together. I sat the children down to explain that Felix was poorly and that he might look different when they see him. That he may lose his hair but it didn’t phase them at all. We could learn so much from children. When Fe lost his hair, or his face was bloated from the steroids, my children didn’t react any differently to him. They carried on as they did before his diagnosis. When Fe’s legs were weak and he couldn’t kick the football, they didn’t ask why?
Hearing the traumatic treatments Fe had been having I felt weak. Weak that there was nothing physical I could help with. Living 2 hours away it’s not like I could pop in to see them all. I felt helpless. Just waiting on messenger for the next update, anxiously waiting to see if Fe’s bloods were good, hoping the chemo was working.
During this time my daughters best friend died suddenly at the tender age of 5. This was my realisation that children can die which sent shockwaves through my body like something I have never felt before. This is when I decided maybe some pen pals might help. The kids would send pictures and gifts to Felix and to his sister and brother but this still wasn’t enough so I started to research about famous people who have overcome leukaemia. Someone who Fe would look up to that would give him the inspiration to beat this.
This is when I started to email Yann Kermorgant’s agent, he had leukaemia when he was younger and he had played for Fe’s favourite team Bournemouth. I talked about Felix and his passion for football, and before I knew it they were in contact with Fe and arranged for Fe to meet him at Reading Football Club. Over the past 18 months, Yann has been a rock to Felix and The Brown Family. They will all be friends for life, and to be honest, Yann is probably the only person who Fe can relate to regarding the treatment he is undertaking at the moment. He has been a tower of strength to them all and a truly inspirational person.
I am so proud of how Team Brown has dealt with this situation, it has opened my eyes into a world that was unknown to me before. Kerry has lots of doctors knowledge now too and the children all seem older than their years. There is still a road of treatment ahead of them, but we will head down it together. Through laughter, humour and the ability to not let this cancer win. I am proud to say I am Felix’s Auntie, the non-selfish manner he has approached his cancer, also helping other youngsters deal with their diagnosis and how he always makes my girls and me smile, makes him an unbelievable young man.