Every day is precious to Amy
When 20-year-old Amy Howarth of Bilborough began bumping into doors and dropping things, she put it down to being clumsy.
But within a week, her whole life had been shattered as she was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive type of brain tumour called Glyoblastoma Multiform Wildtype Grade 4. The tumour is attached to her spinal cord and major nerves meaning it is inoperable and Amy was given six months to live. That was in April last year and now Amy considers every day to be a blessing.
“I live for today and tomorrow is a bonus,” said Amy. “I was independent and everything was fine. And then this happened and my world came crashing down. I was gutted. The hardest thing is knowing that my mum and dad are upset. The hardest thing is seeing my mum and dad cry, knowing that I am not going to be there. I know that I could go any time. I want to tell people to not take life for granted and enjoy every single day.
“I was devastated. It all happened so fast. A week before my diagnosis, I was in my kitchen and I dropped my purse and couldn’t pick it up. I then walked into a door. I thought I was just being clumsy but my mum said I had to go to the doctor.”
Shortly after her diagnosis, Amy discovered Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People. She is now cared for at the hospice regularly and describes the charity as her lifeline. “I love everything about Rainbows, it is like my home now,” said Amy. “At Rainbows, I have my independence back, which is so important to me. Everyone there is like family and they have been great to me. Rainbows has really helped me. I have seen so many changes in myself and everything is different to what it was. When I am at Rainbows, I can be me.”
At Rainbows, Amy enjoys relaxing and spending time with the care team. Her parents, Len and Jo, and also the family dog, Roxy, are regular visitors.
Amy added: “Rainbows is now my world and it is so important they get funding to help others like me. I would encourage people to donate if they can. I also want to tell others that Rainbows is there for them if they need it and not be afraid, it is an amazing place.”
Since her diagnosis, Amy has been trying to do as many things as possible but she had to endure intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Amy is also on a strong daily dose of medication which zaps her energy, leaving her feeling drained. The medication also meant Amy put on weight, going from a size 10 to a size 28 within months.
Before her diagnosis, Amy worked as a carer for the elderly. Now she relies on round the clock care for herself. As a fiercely independent person, Amy feels her condition has taken away her freedom. “I used to work, I went out with my friends, and I can’t do any of that now,” she said. “As time goes on, I feel more tired. Just walking is like trying to run a marathon. But I am 21 in September and I am determined to stick around for the party.”