Mum who lost grandson to leukaemia commits suicide after discovering daughter had same disease
Written by The Newsroom on September 5, 2019
A woman whose family has been destroyed by leukaemia is calling on people to support a charity fighting to defeat the disease.
Trish Robinson from Staffordshire had leukaemia, one of her sons died from the disease, and her own mother killed herself because she was so grief-stricken at what the cancer had done to her family.
In a cruel and unusual twist, Trish, who turns 60 this year, developed the blood cancer six years after her eldest son Christopher died from it.
Her mother committed suicide during Trish’s treatment, she was so fearful of losing another family member to leukaemia.
And then the family dog which they’d had since a puppy also died.
Trish, who is married to Michael and has another son, Jonathan, survived because she received a stem cell transplant in September 2016.
In 2009 Christopher died aged just 26 the day before he was due to receive his stem cell transplant.
She has returned to her part-time job with the NHS, goes to the gym and also rides her horse near her home in the village of Cannock Wood, by Cannock Chase. The family has also has a new pet dog Bonnie.
Trish developed leukaemia just prior to the Christmas of 2015.
“I was told the news that we all feared – it was leukaemia – which was obviously a really emotional moment,” she said.
“It felt like history was repeating itself after what had happened to Christopher.”
Christopher died of respiratory failure in August 2009, after the leukaemia treatment leaving him with no immunity to fight infection.
“This impacted so heavily on our family no parent should have to bury their child,” adds Trish.
“I was in the pits of despair and over the following years I experienced some of the darkest days in my life.
“Eventually time helps you learn to live with the loss but there still remains painful a massive wound inside.”
It was while Trish was undergoing chemotherapy at the QE that the family was dealt a second devastating blow when her own mother killed herself.
“She took her own life, because she couldn’t cope with what was happening to me,” Trish said.
“She was in her 80s and was a very strong-willed woman, but she just couldn’t face what was lying ahead. Mum lived next door to us as well, and it was Jonathan who found her.”
Still there was more heartache to follow when the family’s pet Alsatian, Mollie, who they’d had since a puppy and was very much Christopher’s dog, died.
“Losing Mum had made me angry, but losing Mollie was like breaking the chain back to Christopher,” Trish said.
But then the family was given good news when a match was found for Trish for a stem cell transplant – a 19-year-old man in America.
The cells were flown over from America, and taken to the QE from Birmingham Airport by courier.
The transplant was a success and now Trish is living a relatively normal healthy life.
“It is incredible to think that this was all made possible thanks to a person I have never ever met, my donor from America,” she said.
Trish is supporting Cure Leukaemia’s “Donate Your Name” campaign whereby people pledge a minimum of £5 a month to support the charity.
She said a positive mental attitude was the key to surviving after so much grief.
“How did I cope? Well yes it has been a really difficult time but you just have got get on with it, don’t you?” says Trish.
“We also think about Christopher every single day, and will never ever forget him.
“But I have found the best way to cope is to stay as busy as I can.
“Michael and Jonathan have been wonderful with their love and support – I am told it is so rare for a mother and son to both be diagnosed with leukaemia and as a family we have all had to come through it together.
“I cannot thank everyone enough when it comes to Professor Charlie Craddock and his team and all at the Clinical Centre for Haematology at the QE hospital.
“The care I received there when going through such a horrible experience was second to none, and that is why I am keen to support Cure Leukaemia.”
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