Advice from a terminally ill mum: build your memories now

New mum Sheri Ekladios is an in-patient at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands. After being diagnosed with stomach cancer earlier this year, she was given six months to live – but that isn’t what defines her.

Staying positive

“Cancer is just cancer, it doesn’t define me.

“I’ve got lots of things I want to do, and why shouldn’t I? The cancer physically stops me from being able to do certain things, but this place enables me to live, and that is what I am so grateful for.

“I married my now-husband Tifa in 2015, gave birth to my son Daniel in 2016 and was diagnosed in 2017.

Family selfie in the sunshine: 35 year old Sheri with 18 month year old son Daniel and beloved husband Tifa.

“I had no symptoms except for post-pregnancy symptoms such as acid indigestion and heartburn.

“My sister said she noticed my symptoms were the same as our mum, Christine, when she had terminal stomach cancer 15 years ago.

"Mum was only 48 at the time.”

Celebrating Christmas with a delighted young Daniel this time last year.

Hospices are places of life

“I did not want to come to a hospice.

“But upon arrival, I felt very safe and secure. The staff are amazing – it’s not because they have to care; they want to.

“I think people really need to know about the staff and facilities available here at the Marie Curie Hospice, and how this is not end of life – this is life.

“I thank this hospice from the bottom of my heart for what they have been able to do for me and my family.”

Made for each other: Sheri and Tifa's wedding day in 2015.

First steps

“It’s been great to have my son Daniel here, and it’s important to me that he is with me as much as I can have him.

“I can’t carry him, I can’t throw him up in the air, and I can’t run with him or do those physical things for him, but if I can see him here, it makes me feel a lot better.

“He took his first steps here in my room at the hospice, and I filmed it – he did that in front of me, and that was really important for me.

“If I was in hospital, I wouldn’t have seen those first steps. I would’ve missed that moment, and that would’ve cut me deeply.

“And now Daniel's running! He’s running around everywhere.”

Doting grandfather Adel (left) with grandson Daniel, daughter Sheri, and son-in-law Tifa.

Building memories

“Since I’ve been ill, I’ve learned how people can come together to be a support network. It has actually overwhelmed me.

“I have also learnt that the giving of time is a huge part of the way I want to continue to live.

“Giving time to people can change people for the better. I listen to other people and their own hardships, and I’m now able to give a few words of support that might help change the life of that person.

“This is the biggest lesson that I ask everyone to take from me: stop being busy, take time to listen to each other, and build your memories now.”

You can help support families like Sheri's by donating today

Find out more about our West Midlands hospice.