Mother diagnosed with cancer after noticing blood in her stool: ‘It’s hard to accept I’m dying’

Single mother-of-three Louise Hayward has less than a year to live

Amy Reast,Alex Ross
Tuesday 14 February 2023 12:33 GMT
Related: What are bowel cancer symptoms

A single mother with cancer and less than a year to live is frantically raising cash to support her two youngest kids - who will be raised by her sister when she dies.

Single mother-of-three Louise Hayward, 48, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in November 2020 - and it quickly spread to her liver and lungs.

After two gruelling years of chemotherapy she was told last November doctors have run out of options.

Louise said she has less than a year left to live, but hasn’t yet told her two youngest kids about the bleak prognosis.

The devastated mother to William, 19, Faith, nine and Louie, seven, is now fundraising to support her children after she passes away.

Single mum-of-three Louise Hayward in hospital
Single mum-of-three Louise Hayward in hospital (Louise Hayward / SWNS)

Louise, from Whitchurch, Bristol, has so far received over £3,000 in donations for her children.

She said: “All of this is so scary - I was never expecting to be told I was dying.

“In November 2022, they told me there is nothing else they can do - I was devastated.

“I begged them to give me more chemotherapy - which they did - but it’s hard to accept I am going to die soon.

“It’s so unfair on my kids - they know about my cancer but I haven’t been able to tell them I’m dying.

“It’s so unfair on them - I just think, why did they have to be born into this life?

“How do I tell them they’re going to lose their mum at such a young age?

“Any money I can save up for them before I pass will make it easier for them when I do.”

Louise with her children William, 19, Faith, nine and Louie, seven
Louise with her children William, 19, Faith, nine and Louie, seven (Louise Hayward / SWNS)

Louise was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer after noticing blood when she went to the toilet in November 2020.

She recalled putting off visiting her doctor due to the pandemic - but it became so bad that she had no choice.

She recalled one day having such a severe bleed after going to the toilet that all she could do was “sit on a towel to stop the bleeding”.

She said: “I felt like I was giving birth, that’s how bad the pain was.”

Doctors diagnosed her quickly after finding a 7cm tumour in her bowel.

She began chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but after two years, the single stay-at-home mum was told the cancer had spread.

In November 2022 she was told it had spread to her liver and lungs, and had begun to affect her kidneys too.

(Louise Hayward / SWNS)

While her eldest son William, a mechanics apprentice, is aware of her prognosis, her little ones have no idea yet.

She wants to raise as much money to support her three children as she can, before she tells them.

Louise said: “I watched Deborah James deteriorate - she was on the same meds that I am on.

“I watched her deteriorate, and thought ‘soon that’s going to be me.”

Louise’s sister, Rachel, 47, whose children are grown up, will eventually move into Louise’s house to parent little Faith and Louie.

She doesn’t even plan to have a funeral to limit her children’s future pain.

She said: “I don’t want to put my children through it twice - you lose somebody, then you live it all over again at the funeral.”

She fears how they will cope as she has “done everything” for her children as a single parent.

She said: “My little one, Louie, especially relies on me.

“Faith and Louie know about the cancer, the chemo, and the pain I’m in - but only William knows I am dying.

“These past two years, even with cancer I have continued to look after them on my own.

“I did the housework, cooked, took them to school, on my own - looking at me even now, you’d never believe I was ill.

“It’s so hard to accept that in reality, I am going to die soon.”

She added: “It’s just so unfair on my kids.

“I wonder why they had to be born into this life.

“How can I tell them they’re going to lose their mum at such a young age?

“All I can do is try to raise some money for them after I have passed.”


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