Helen Lofts was an outgoing, cheerful, courageous and kind young woman who sadly died, age 31, on 2nd January 2019 after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March 2018.
It was Helen’s dream to visit Disneyland once more, which was the place her husband had proposed to her. She was completely mad for anything Disney related. Jane Lofts, Helen’s mum, has chosen to share some of Helen’s story with us.
Jane said, “Helen was visited weekly by the St Barnabas Hospice at Home nurses, who were just so lovely. A physio also came out to see her and was able to sort her out with equipment, even when plans changed slightly after she got married.
“I can’t thank the physio enough for what she did for Helen. There was one point where Helen was just so desperate for a bath and the physio arranged for her to get to the St Barnabas Inpatient Unit and have a nice bath there. I can remember how happy this made Helen, and I’m so grateful that St Barnabas was able to help her in this way.”
Helen and her husband, Chris, got married in May 2018, but had to put their honeymoon on hold whilst she was undergoing chemotherapy. Once they learned the cancer was incurable, a friend decided to start a crowdfunder to raise enough money to send their family to Disneyland one last time. This raised an incredible £6,020.
Jane said, “The St Barnabas nurses gave Helen the confidence in her ability to be able to go to Disneyland when she was so poorly. Helen refused to let her cancer stop her living life to the full and she had the most amazing time on her last holiday. She was able to go on a few rides and got loads of pictures, including with Ariel, her favourite princess and Peter Pan, which is her favourite film.
“She got back from the holiday on Christmas Eve and started feeling a lot more tired, to the point where she spent a few days just sleeping. A week later, she had a seizure and then died a few days after that.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child, but I’m holding on to such special memories of Helen. She was always the life and soul of the party and so much fun to be around. We asked people to come to her funeral dressed in Disney clothes, which I know she’d have loved.”
When Helen was alive, she decided to blog her experiences of cancer to raise more awareness. In one of her posts, Helen wrote, “St Barnabas has become very involved with me. It makes me grateful for all the charity work I’ve done for them in the past, even though I never did it thinking that one day it would be me they were helping.”
Jane said, “On behalf of our family, I’d like to say a huge thank you to St Barnabas. They played a huge part in helping Helen to make the most out of the life she had left, and I’ll never forget how they supported her to achieve her final wish before she died.”