PUBLISHED ON: 22 June 2017

After losing her mum, Jinette, to breast cancer last year, Kirstie's world changed. She decided to hold an Afternoon Tea as a way to bring the family together and remember their mum one year on.

Kirstie with her mum

Mum was at my side when I got checked

A few years ago my mum came with me to the doctor to get a lump checked. I panicked, and she came to keep me calm. I had a biopsy and it turned out to just be a blocked milk duct. That same evening she found a lump herself. It was breast cancer – she was only 43.

Something happened to her during treatment – she was lost

My mum was devastated by the diagnosis. I think all that was going through her mind was us, her kids. I have a sister and brother, and a daughter of my own, her granddaughter. My brother was only nine, and my sister was a teenager so she blocked it all out. But our whole family were there for her – my aunt even shaved her head when mum lost her hair.

But something happened to her during treatment. She wasn’t the same person – she’d lost herself. It had destroyed her both emotionally and physically. She’d always been such a bubbly person, and suddenly she was pushing people away.

After radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a mastectomy, she started to go out and enjoy herself again, to get back to her old self. But then it came back.

Mum knew something wasn’t right

Mum had said she’d been feeling unwell, and went to the doctors with a persistent cough, but they said it was just a virus or infection. She knew something wasn’t right, but what happened was so unexpected.

At my auntie’s wedding she started sweating and being sick. My partner took her to A&E, where they said she had secondary breast cancer. It had spread to her liver and was incurable. She never came home after that. About a month later, she died in palliative care.

A montage of Kirstie, her mum and brother and sister

Jinette with her three children: Luke, Kirstie and Rebecca

Mum was the backbone of our family

Mum was a bubbly, outgoing person. She got on with everyone and had so many friends. Her funeral was so rammed with people who loved her, you could barely move. She was the backbone of the family, and I think about her every day.

Before she passed away, mum wrote letters to her family, including us three kids, and my daughter Miley for when she grows up. I’ll keep them close to my heart forever.

One year on, we want to remember her

It will be coming up to a year since she died soon. That will be hard. We've decided to hold an Afternoon Tea for her, to get everyone together like she always did, and raise money for Breast Cancer Care. It seems a good fit – mum loved afternoon tea, it was one of her favourite things. That and bingo!

It’s a way to remember her, a way to raise awareness, and a way to give back.  

If you're planning a get-together this summer, why not make it an Afternoon Tea? The money you raise will help support women and families affected by breast cancer – it's a great way to show you care.

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