Terminally Ill Mum Feels Blessed To Be Able To Spend Christmas With Her Children - Despite Knowing It’s Her Last
Terminally ill Jennifer Bell, 28, is an inspiration to us all, focusing on everything she's achieved in her life and embracing the fact she's made it to Christmas, despite the odds.
She will be able to spend the holiday season with her two daughters Georgia, aged eight, and Kacey, aged one, something which was originally thought touch and go.
Jennifer from Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in March after she began noticing problems with her speech whilst studying for a degree in learning disability nursing.
She was also pregnant at the time with Kacey, and doctors initially thought it was caused by hormones.
But as she neared the end of her final year of university, she was diagnosed with MND.
Tragically, she was given just nine months to live.
Jennifer said: "Since being diagnosed my speech is my main symptom which is slowly but surely deteriorating, I also find it hard to chew food."
"There's nothing I can't do now that I could before apart from talk, and I've had to adjust my diet to soft foods."
The mum says she finds her strength from her two girls.
She said: "They are my world and everyday I have enjoyed seeing them grow up, laughing, telling me they love me, I know they need me.
"I'll fight with every breath in my body to be here looking after them for as long as I possibly can. And although it's an awful situation I'm also very lucky in so many ways.
"I've brought two beautiful children into the world, I've almost completed my bucket list, I've achieved a university degree, I've had the opportunity to do so many things some people never get to do in life and it's made me into a stronger person."
"I won't ever lie down to this disease I'll fight it with everything I've got. At the moment I feel very happy."
Jennifer was particularly grateful she made it to daughter Kacey's first birthday.
She said: "When I was first diagnosed I didn't know if I would see my daughter's first birthday, which I have done. She's now walking and almost talking."
And now she's pleased she can share what might be her last Christmas with both girls to make more memories.
We can't believe how inspiring this woman is.
Jennifer, from Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, said: "Christmas is just around the corner and the fact I'll be here is a miracle to me. I feel blessed.
"We are having a big family dinner for Christmas so we are very excited.
"I just feel at peace, happy and content that I'm so well and getting to cherish a very special day with my girls and all my family."
Despite being told by medics she would only have a matter of months to live, Jennifer is still fighting onwards.
She said: "Realistically this will be my last Christmas as bulbar MND prognosis isn't great but I pray for a miracle every day and there are doing clinical trials starting soon."
But each day she lives is a new day for Jennifer and her girls to enjoy and create memories.
She said: "My oldest daughter has a good grasp of what's going on. She goes to Marie Curie weekly for counselling and is making a book of my life which she finds hilarious.
"She speaks openly about it and I've told her it's OK to talk about it and it's OK to be sad sometimes, but it's definitely helping her instead of her bottling things up.
"Sometimes she will ask 'Mummy when are you going to heaven?' and I just say to her 'nobody knows when God will take us so we have to be happy and make special memories everyday'.
"I explain to her that we are all going to the same place one day and everyone will be together again."
It's too much.
Despite her positivity, Jennifer has explained the implications of the illness are heartbreaking.
She said: "The hardest thing about MND for me is my speech - not being able to sing my baby girl a song breaks my heart."
She also says she feels embarrassed when trying to talk in public.
"People speak to me like I'm deaf or as if I don't understand them, which is very insulting considering I've just graduated from university and there is nothing wrong other than my speech," she said.
"Everyone assumes MND is for older people, or pay no attention because it doesn't affect them."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS