Wigan mum battling cancer 'overwhelmed' by support as she bids to make sons smile

Hundreds of pounds have been donated to an appeal to help a single mum battling cancer take her three sons on holiday.
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Sam Sullivan, 31, has not cried since being given the devastating news that she has breast cancer – and instead wants to focus on her children Declan, 11, Taylor, nine, and five-year-old Jax.

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So as she began a six-month course of chemotherapy, her stepmother Helen Sullivan, from Billinge, set up an online appeal to raise money for a family holiday.

Sam Sullivan with her oldest son Declan, 11Sam Sullivan with her oldest son Declan, 11
Sam Sullivan with her oldest son Declan, 11
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Already more than £1,800 has been donated, with Sam describing the amount of support she has received as “overwhelming”.

She said: “The boys have had a terrible six months and I want to give them something to look forward to.

"I don’t know where we will go. I wasn’t expecting it to get as high as it has. I was planning a caravan holiday in Wales, but with the money we have raised, I could even take them abroad. It’s been a shock.”

It has been a difficult time for the family, with Sam’s long-term relationship ending just before Christmas and then discovering she had cancer in April.

Sam Sullivan with son Taylor, nineSam Sullivan with son Taylor, nine
Sam Sullivan with son Taylor, nine
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She had been living in St Helens, but has returned to her parents’ home in Billinge for support while battling the illness.

Sam said: “Last July I found a lump. I got sent to the doctor for a referral and the doctor wasn’t happy with it, so sent me to St Helens Hospital. At the time, they said it was benign, but the lump was causing a lot of pain and discomfort. I went back and ended up being diagnosed with breast cancer.”

It was heartbreaking news for Sam.

"All I could think about was the kids,” she said. “I haven’t even cried since the diagnosis – everyone has cried for me. I was more concerned about how to tell my children what’s going on.”

Sam Sullivan with five-year-old JaxSam Sullivan with five-year-old Jax
Sam Sullivan with five-year-old Jax

Sam’s breast cancer was found to be stage three and doctors decided to give her chemotherapy for six months, with the fifth of these treatments due to be done on Friday.

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She said: “It’s wiped me out. I have fibromyalgia as well, so it’s increased the aches and pains from that, but I am tired as well.”

After chemotherapy, Sam will have hormonal treatment, a double mastectomy and radiotherapy.

She was dealt a blow last month when doctors discovered the cancer had spread to her lungs, but it is hoped the treatment will shrink the tumours.

Sam has a long road ahead of her, but she has plenty of support and is looking forward to going on holiday with her sons.

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Any extra money donated to the appeal will be used to help the family financially while she receives treatment, as she is currently out of work.

It took 10 months for Sam to be diagnosed with cancer, after first going to see her doctor, so she urged anyone with concerns about their own health to seek medical help as soon as possible.

She said: “The hospital only does mammograms from 45 and upwards, but if you are unsure of something, do get it checked. I was fobbed off the first time and left it 10 months, but it turned out to be cancer.”

Donate to the appeal for Sam and her sons at www.gofundme.com/f/sams-boys-holiday

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