About this blog


About this blog

Penny have lost six relatives to cancer. Both sides of my family have suffered very cruelly and I now volunteer and blog to raise awareness and make a small difference in the fight against this terrible disease. Blogs written by Penny

  • Patient Name: George
  • Cancer Type: Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Age when diagnosed: 2

Tenth anniversary of George’s passing

22nd April 2021

The world has changed so much since 2011

A decade. Three Prime Ministers, Brexit, Covid-19.

Ten years ago I woke up on my 22nd birthday and was opening my gifts when the phone rang. As soon as my friend gasped, jumped up and ran out of the room, a cold dread came over me and I knew what had happened. In that moment my world changed forever as my beloved cousin Georgie was gone. He had passed away in the early hours of the morning 94 days before his 18th birthday.

Six months before Georgie died I had started my volunteering journey with Cancer Research UK for my first ever role. I was desperate to find a way to be useful when I was feeling completely useless as we watched him deteriorate. I sought solace in the volunteering once he died. My fellow volunteers were my support network and the work itself was a focus and a positive outlet for my grief as I mourned. It enabled me to keep talking about Georgie with people who could relate to how I was feeling.

penny volunteering for cancer research uk

10 years later

I still feel the waves of grief wash over me and catch me unaware frequently. I felt it on my wedding day as I walked down the stairs in my dress ready to greet my family knowing he wasn’t there. I felt it when Chelsea won the Champions League, knowing he should be celebrating with us. I felt it when One Tree Hill finished as it was a show we watched together and he wasn’t there to see how it ended. I still feel it now every time I watch a Carry On film as we watched them together growing up and whilst he was sick. Life certainly goes on but the pain of loss is never far from my mind.

Georgie boy smiling

Our son, Valentino is born

In October 2020, I gave birth to my son, Valentino. I’ve always been anxious but in the years since Georgie died it has increased. Being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic made it even worse and although enjoyed my pregnancy, I did have many moments where I was terrified for the health of my child. My poor doctor had given me his mobile number and I utilised it on a number of occasions. My son is now almost seven months old and is a happy, amazing little boy but sometimes I do feel sad that both he and my husband will never meet Georgie, and will never meet the more adventurous version of myself that existed before he died.

As I became a mother I began to wonder how volunteering would fit into my life. I already have a full time job and before my son I would average about 500 voluntary hours a year. How would I manage it all with a baby? But once he was born I looked at him and knew I would reduce my voluntary hours but not stop completely. I looked at this innocent baby and knew that I had to continue doing all I can to ensure he doesn’t lose people the way I lost people to cancer, that I had to do all I can to protect his health also.

penny with valentino and her husband

We love and still miss George

So I will continue into the next decade much the same as I have spent this one, campaigning for better childhood cancer outcomes, better cancer treatments and quicker diagnosis. I will continue to raise awareness, help those currently dealing with cancer and advocate for them. I have seen much progress during that time and been part of so much incredible campaigns but the work goes on and my passion for it remains.

“But what is grief, if not love persevering?”

I heard this beautiful quote when watching the latest Marvel TV show earlier this year and I loved it. It’s such a nice way to look at grief because it’s true, the love doesn’t disappear when somebody dies. My life has changed so much in the last decade but one thing will never ever change: Georgie is still loved and missed every single day and my determination to help others survive cancer is still at the forefront of my daily life in his honour.

April 2021

George web boy with dog