Rachel's Lasting Video Message
Rachel wish was to leave her children and loved ones a video message for them to watch at milestones in their lives and times when they needed to see her.
Rachel was diagnosed with a rare aggressive cervical cancer called Small Cell Carcinoma whilst pregnant at 15 weeks gestation. Rachel opted for the chemo which would not harm the baby and hopefully stop the growth of the cancer. After 4 doses of chemo, the cancer stopped responding to the treatment, and the baby had to be delivered at 29 weeks. A tiny, beautiful baby girl Hannah was born weighing 1kg. 5 days after the birth, Rachel started a more aggressive approach to treatment & chemo was started once again. She also endured 6 weeks of radiation and 48hrs of brachytherapy.
At 7 months after treatment,
After 7 months of treatment, Rachel was given the all clear after a radical hysterectomy was performed. Life returned to normal as much as it could, and she enjoyed being a mum to her children. However, three days before Christmas 2014, doctors removed a tumour from Rachel's brain. Radiation treatment was advised by her doctors, and she was released from hospital on New Year’s Day 2015. At the 6 week check up for her brain tumour, Rachel was given the all clear again. However she began to experience severe pain in her back and an MRI scan was performed 2 days later, showing the cancer was now in her spine. There was a 0% chance of survival and if the treatment worked she may have anywhere between 6 weeks and 9 months left to live. After many long months of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, Rachel was able to celebrate her 34th birthday in June, surrounded and loved by family and friends. It was a night to remember and a time for everyone to celebrate Rachel's last ever birthday with her.
However, despite Rachel's courage, strength and will, she gained her angel wings on the 12th August 2015. Prior to Rachel’s passing her friend Fern contacted The Orange Pigeon asking if it might be possible to help organise a videographer and video editor to film and edit some special moments with Rachel and her family and for Rachel to record some messages for her children. There were hours and hours of footage collected and given to her family, and we wanted to share a little bit of the precious moments captured, lasting memories that will be treasured forever by her husband Shane and beautiful, gentle, sweet children Maison who is 9 and Hannah who is 2.
A lot of friends and family also helped contribute financially to the video which was an amazing effort for the family. Fern said “I truly could never fully express my gratitude to all the people who made this happen, but I hope they know inside how much it has meant to so many people to know that Rachel’s children will not forget her. The ONLY thing I did have control of was preserving her memory. Rachel had said to me that her biggest fear in all of it, was that she was scared of being forgotten by her children. In all the scariness of being diagnosed with terminal cancer, this was her biggest fear.
“Rachel said to me not long before she passed, that knowing that her babies could see her and hear her whenever they wanted after she was gone, meant the WORLD to her, the thought that she would miss out on consoling them when their hearts were broken as teenagers or giving them guidance of making smart decisions, etc. all made her very sad. She so wanted to be there for all of that, however the next best thing was to put some of that advice in to the video for them and hope that one day it helped to guide them."
"I truly cannot thank all of you enough for all that you did for me, Rachel, Shane, Maison and Hannah. You have made the difference of a lifetime to all of us and words cannot even begin to describe the emotions I feel when I think of the beautiful people that you all are. The difference you have made to this family is beyond words - completely life changing, and it gave Rachel so much comfort in her darkest days knowing that she would not be forgotten. Thank you for giving a dying mum, a grief stricken family and a desperate, heartbroken friend this comfort.”
We are so glad we could do this for Rachel and for her children. We encourage future recipients to consider putting a video together for your family. These moments are so precious.
RIP Rachel 18 June 1981 - 12 August 2015