Wedding day for cancer toddler
PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 September 2011
A WORLE couple whose little girl has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour got married on Saturday - and used their big day to raise money for the charity which is helping their daughter in her fight for life.
Sean and Vicky Bawden donated some money to children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent for every one of the 50 guests who attended their wedding, and also encouraged family and friends to dig deep.
Two-year-old Jennifer Bawden was first diagnosed with a medulloblastoma brain tumour last February, 10 days before her first birthday.
She had six months of treatment and was eventually given the all-clear. But the tumour came back just before Christmas and Sean and Vicky were devastated when they were told it was terminal.
But it did not stop brave Jennifer enjoying her mum and dad’s special day and acting as their flower girl.
Vicky said: “The doctors have told us they can’t cure her, but I don’t believe them.
“I believe she will beat this and prove them all wrong. I’m refusing to give up.”
Jennifer’s illness was originally diagnosed as an ear infection on three occasions and it was not until Sean and Vicky took her to the Seashore Centre children’s unit at Weston General Hospital that she was booked in for a scan at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.
Jennifer passed out in her cot at Frenchay and her parents were told that if she did not have emergency surgery that night she would die.
She underwent a 13-hour operation and doctors were hopeful they had removed all of the tumour.
Jennifer then had to endure a further six months of chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants and further surgery. Her immune system was very low because of the chemotherapy and she had to be put in isolation for 12 weeks after contracting a virus.
Sean and Vicky were overjoyed when Jennifer was given the all-clear last September.
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Vicky said: “We opened a bottle of Champagne to celebrate.”
But just before Christmas they found out the tumour had returned, and that it was inoperable.
But Jennifer’s parents, of Tormynton Road, have vowed not to give up on her.
Vicky said Jennifer is a fighter as well as a typical two-year-old.
“When she had her operation she couldn’t walk or talk. It has taken up until now to get her on her feet.”
Jennifer now has a shunt in her brain and a peg in her stomach.
She enjoys playing with her dolls and in her Wendy house and always plays with the family dog, a black Border collie called Leroy.
She is naturally curious and bright - her first words were ‘what’s that?’.
Her middle name, Linda, is taken from her grandmother, Vicky’s mum, who died eight years ago after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
The family have had enormous support from CLIC Sargent, which gave Sean accommodation in CLIC House, near the hospital, for five months.
Vicky said: “People from the charity come out to see us every couple of weeks and always stay to have a chat with us.
“They don’t just help the children, they help the parents too.
“It is an amazing charity but it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.”
Sean and Vicky’s wedding at St Martin’s Church in Worle raised more than £140 for the charity. To give to CLIC Sargent, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/vicky-sean.