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Cancer fund helps mum make special memories for family

PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 September 2015

Sarah McAllister with her family Elsie-Mai, Sid and partner Lee Effemy.
Sarah has been told she has terminal cancer just weeks after giving birth to her baby son Albert (not pictured)

Picture: James Bass

Sarah McAllister with her family Elsie-Mai, Sid and partner Lee Effemy. Sarah has been told she has terminal cancer just weeks after giving birth to her baby son Albert (not pictured) Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2015

"I'm not scared of dying, I'm scared of leaving the kids behind and not seeing them grow up."

This is the fear of a Worlingham mother of three facing a desperate race against time to create special memories with her young family - helped by the generosity of an online campaign.

Sarah McAllister, 33, has incurable cancer and hopes to make whatever time she has left magical for her children Elsie-Mai, seven, Sid, two, and three-month-old Albert.

Her ordeal all began two years ago when Miss McAllister, who lives with her partner Lee Effemy, had a mole removed from her ear.

“I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “They sent it for a biopsy and it took several weeks to hear back. I thought no news was good news.”

Despite never being much of a sunbather, Miss McAllister was diagnosed with skin cancer.

Following an operation to remove the mole, the top part of her ear and her lymph nodes, Miss McAllister regularly checked her body for new moles, and had frequent hospital visits.

“I thought if it came back it would be a mole, “ she said.

But then while pregnant with Albert, she suffered severe back pains which left her unable to stand for more than a few seconds.

“The hospital kept saying it was inflammation but they agreed to let me have Albert three weeks early,” she said. “I thought it would be over, I didn’t think it was this bad.”

Back at home with her baby but in so much pain she was still unable to walk, a doctor organised a CT scan which revealed the reason behind her crippling pain. The cancer had come back.

“They said it was in my brain, lungs, liver and spine,” said Miss McAllister. “That’s what people don’t realise with skin cancer, it’s very aggressive and it spreads everywhere.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be treatable when they said where it had spread to.”

The first priority was to decompress her spine, which was done with pins and rods, but means Miss McAllister will never be able to bend the middle part of her back.

“I’m not really able to be down on the floor playing with the kids,” she said. “I have to take rests and I can’t run around and pick them up.”

Following surgery, doctors gave her new tablets which could shrink the tumours, or at least stop them spreading.

But they will not find out if they have had any effect until next month, when a CT scan will reveal the size of the tumours, and give the family an indication of how much time they have left together.

Now, in a bid to create happy memories for her children to look back on, Miss McAllister has set up a GoFundMe Page, which has already raised over £4,000.

She has used the money to book breaks to Center Parcs and Alton Towers, and is organising to marry partner Mr Effemy, 45, a warehouse operative at M and H Plastics.

“We would never have been able to afford things like this, but people have been so kind, so we can afford to do the special things.

“We would get round to doing them in the future, but we have got to do them now because we might not get the chance.

“At least the children will remember the special times we had together.”

To support the family’s fundraisig, visit www.gofundme.com/7put6mzh

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