Little Boy Gets Gift Every Year from Mommy Who Died of Cancer


The very thought of cancer can strike true fear into even the stoutest hearts. Yes, sometimes physicians can cure it with minimal fuss.

Other times it’s a pitched battle to the bitter end.

Perhaps the most horrible thing about cancer is how it impacts every demographic, striking all age groups. Just look at BBC presenter Rachael Bland.

A 40-year-old mother of one, Bland seemed to have it all. She enjoyed a prestigious position at a world-renown public broadcasting corporation.

What’s more, she was happily married and had a three-year-old son, Freddie. Then, according to Pop Sugar, she got a breast cancer diagnosis in 2016.

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Business Insider reported that Bland initially discovered the disease when she found a lump in her armpit. It turned out that she had triple-negative breast cancer, a particularly virulent type.

Bland fought it hard and even went into remission. But it didn’t last long.

She wrote about the news that her cancer had returned on the Huffington Post U.K., “‘I’m sorry Rachael — it’s back and it’s incurable.’ From the moment you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, or any type of cancer, they’re the words you really don’t want to hear.

“My D-Day call, I jokingly refer to it as ‘Death-Day’, came back in April, while I was out playing with my three-year-old son, Freddie. Hearing those words ripped the air right out of my lungs and I had to lean against a wall to steady myself.”

The worst part of getting that news wasn’t just the fact that it heralded the end of her life. Bloom was away from home playing with little Freddie.

She described the heartbreaking scene of trying to drive home to tell her husband with Freddie in the vehicle with her the whole time. She remembered sobbing and telling her young son, “I’m so sorry.”

“When you are in my position,” she wrote, “knowingly approaching the end of your life at just 40 years old, with a husband you adore with all your heart and a three-year-old son you love so much that if you looked at him too long your heart could burst, you need two major things to get you through. Hope. And denial.

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“If I were to release all my feelings about leaving my precious, beautiful Freddie behind, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the rest of my time on this earth. So I tuck them away, graciously accept every little hug, squeeze, cuddle and utterance of ‘I love you so much, mummy’ and try not to let him see it break my heart.”

But even though she was aware her time on earth was ending, Bland didn’t want to leave Freddie without more than a fleeting memory of her. She penned a memoir for him titled “For Freddie,” chronicled all of her son’s preferences for her sister-in-law, and set aside a selection of her personal effects.

Perhaps the most touching gesture she did, though, was to wrap a series of birthday presents so he would always have something to open from her from when he was four until he turned 21. Her goal? To make sure the young boy remembered that he once had a mother who loved him very much.

“I hope the book and these gifts and notes will leave an imprint of my love behind for the rest of his life,” she said. “So he can be sure how very much I love him.”

Bland died on Sept. 5. But her legacy of love will last far longer than any bows or wrapping paper.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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