A mum who has been given months to live is only able to see some of her children through a window due to the coronavirus crisis.
Ava Woodgate’s family were given the heartbreaking news that the 69-year-old had terminal cancer at the end of 2020.
The Witham mum was told by doctors her lung cancer had spread to her liver and bones, giving her a matter of just months.
With England now in lockdown, many of Ava’s children and grandchildren are unable to be with her and hold her hand during what little time she has left.
Three of Ava’s six children have been able to self-isolate to spend time with their mum.
But the others, who work in the community, are only able to see their mum through the window.
The whole family and little ones are desperate to be able to cuddle Ava and give her the best few months they possibly can.
It was just six weeks before Christmas when Ava was rushed into Broomfield Hospital.
A series of scans revealed that Ava had cancer in the lungs, which had spread to her liver and bones, making it incurable.
The news devastated the entire family, one of Ava’s daughters, Katy Richardson, said.
“She was in hospital over Christmas and we have been told at the moment that it’s a case of months but whether that is three, six or nine months we still don’t know,” Katy, 37, said.
“It’s the symptoms of the bone cancer that has been causing the most problems.
“She had to have a hip replacement because the cancer was crumbling at the bone.
“They rushed her in for the operation and that gave us hope because they hadn’t written her off.”
Ava is due to start radiotherapy next week and will be going into hospital every day for treatment.
Thankfully, Katy was able to self-isolate to go and live with her mum during her treatment, while her other siblings do what they can to support their mum from afar.
Katy said: “We were heartbroken when we found out. She is the matriarch of the family, I am one of six children.
“And you think of all our friends too – she has been a second mum to a lot of people.
“To see her on this journey now, we don’t want to see her go through this. She’s done nothing but help other people.
“She’s kind, she’s caring, it is limitless what she will do for other people.”
The family has now set up a fundraiser to try and give Ava the opportunity to make as many amazing memories as she can once restrictions lift.
Seeing the amazing comments and donations have meant the world to Ava – finally putting her first for a change.
Katy added: “That’s the reason we set up the GoFundMe because so many people have asked what can they do to help and this way we can give people the opportunity to do that.
“She’s never been in that position where she has had extra money to enjoy herself. She lives alone and we just thought if people want to help this is the way I feel.
“We can take away the financial burden and she can go make memories and allow her that freedom once restrictions go.”
For the three of Ava’s children, Sam, 32, Ella, 29, and Callum, 28, as well as her ten grandchildren, it is incredibly difficult to not be able to be close to her during this time.
“Those who can’t isolate because they are working in the community are the ones are doing the shopping and the other three of us are isolating to be with her,” she said.
“Without a pandemic, we wouldn’t have to worry about any of this,” Katy said.
“My sister has a new baby coming on the way too and my mum is so desperate she wants to be there for the baby.
“It’s awful to be so close but so far all you want to do is hold her hand and have a cuddle.”
She added: “The grandkids absolutely love her, they get really sad looking at the window through to her because they have to stay at the window.
“She is desperate for a cuddle but when we are allowed to do things it will give her the fire in her belly.”
Ava is also due to turn 70-years-old in May with the hope that they can plan a big party to celebrate together.
Lucy, one of her daughters, is also due to get married in August this year, which her family pray Ava will be able to be a part of.
While Katy said her mum is starting to come to terms with the diagnosis, the comments and donations from people whose lives she has touched mean so much.
“This has put her in higher spirits seeing the amazing comments and that means the world to her,” she said.
“Even just buying the babies an ice cream, silly little things like that are lovely for her to do.
“We want a huge family holiday too – five years ago we had one and paid for her and it would be a dream for us to do that again, she loves Greece.
“My mum has always been the provider, when we went on picnics before lockdown, there would be 30 of us and she would have so much joy in doing the food and buying it all for everyone.
“She loves giving. It’s all the little things in life that mean something to her.”
Katy said they have already exceeded fundraising more than they would ever think, with nearly £4,000 donated.
They are so grateful to anyone who is able to donate or share words of support for Ava and hope she can make as new and wonderful memories soon.
One comment on Ava’s fundraiser said: “A truly beautiful lady who is so special to so many, we love you all xx”
Another added: “I hope that with every donation you can make some amazing memories for your family to treasure forever xx.”
Katy has designed and created a beautiful print in tribute to her mum called the Ava Bee which they are selling to help raise money.