Mum Pens Heartbreaking Letter After Being Diagnosed With Motor Neurone Disease Aged 28
Jennifer Bell, 28, was in her third year studying for a degree in disability nursing when she began to notice issues with her speech and was initially told it was hormones from her second pregnancy.
But in March this year, just six months after giving birth to Kacey, one, Jennifer, who is also mother to Georgia, eight, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) and told she had nine months to live.
MND is an uncommon condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets worse over time. It's always fatal and can significantly shorten life expectancy.
In the wake of her terminal diagnosis, the single mother penned an emotional open letter telling people "not to take life for granted because tomorrow is never guaranteed," which she posted on social media.
She wrote: "Since being diagnosed with a terminal illness your perception of things, people and places change. Your priorities are different and things that you once took for granted you no longer do.
"Day in day out whether it's on social media or it's in public, I hear people moaning and I think to myself I wish that's all I had to worry about.
"We are all human and have difficult times but here's something for you to think about, not for you to feel bad, simply for you to realise that everyday is a gift and you should really count your blessings instead of moaning about what you don't have."
She added: "During university I juggled childcare, studying, writing essays at home and full-time placement. I had to work three night shifts a week to put food on the table on top of nursing placement.
"Through every year at university, I thought this is too much, I can't do this. But I kept pushing myself for my girls. Any student nurse knows how hard work life and student life is.
"It's round the clock, listening to patients, comforting them, changing beds, feeding them... the list is endless and they are undervalued and underpaid," she continued.
"Then, at the end of my long hard journey when I could see light at the end of the tunnel, I was diagnosed with MND. That is unfair. Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is unfair at any age - but before 30 it's gut-wrenching.
"Knowing I never got the reward of being in a qualified nurse post after all the work is unfair. It's unfair two kids are going to lose their mum.
"It's unfair that after school, all the kids in Georgia's class go home and she has to go to Marie Curie sessions. It's unfair I can't read my kids a book or sing them a song.
"Most unfair is that MND has been around for so many years and there's not one thing out there to help or cure it. It's unfair to be told you have MND and its just 'bad luck' and, 'We can't help you'.
"So before you moan about how you had a crap sleep last night or you can't be bothered with work or you have a sore throat, maybe think to yourself in the grand scheme of things is this really important?"
"You only have one life so live it and if there's something you don't like change it. Stop wishing for more than you have or your will never find happiness as it comes from within."
Jennifer, who graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University in July, ended the post by saying: "Don't take life for granted because tomorrow is never guaranteed. Life is short, live it properly.
"After spending 28 years of not being content the only thing now that keeps me content is the love of my family and my two beautiful daughters.
"If I had lived the last 28 years not taking things for granted I would of done it the right way...so do it right people, you only have one chance.
"So here's to finding a cure for MND, appreciating your nurses and the NHS and not taking life for granted."
Jennifer has arranged an event at Ellangowan Social Club, Milngavie, on November 29th for MND Scotland. It is sold-out but raffle prizes and donations to www.mndscotland.org/imagine are welcome.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS