'I hope you have no pain any more': 7-year-old girl continues to send texts to mom even a month after she died
7 year old Deena doesn't know how to deal with the grief of losing her mum to cancer - especially since she had seen it happen ever since she can remember it
Deena and her mom Hayley have a lovely bond that transcends beyond life and death. 7-year-old Deena lost her mother Hayley to cancer after she fought it for seven long years. It started out as a lump that went on to be diagnosed as breast cancer - a rare form of it. At the time she was told she had eight months but she refused to give up. Mirror reported that Deena, missing her mum all the time often texts her saying things like, "I hope you have no pain anymore. I just got home from gymnastics. Love Deena."
Hayley's husband Andy Kalinins who takes care of Deena and her siblings Holly, 17, Taylor, 12, and Hayden, 10, said, "If we’d listened to the doctors, Deena wouldn’t have had any memories of her mummy at all. They had a lovely bond. This year at her school play, all Deena wanted to do was make sure her mum was in the audience. At the end, she ran to give her a huge hug. Now she desperately wants to speak to her mummy. She even asked me if we can adopt a new mummy. I’ve had to tell her things don’t work like that," he said. Hayley passed away last month in September.
"Hayley was so focused on enjoying every moment she had with the kids. Her only wish was that she’d never be forgotten and I’ll make sure she lives on in our children," he said. Deena sleeps on her mum's bed. When Hayley got sick, she was about 8 months old.
She surely wasn't the type to just sit down and do nothing - so she talked about her journey on Facebook with her friends and the fight drew in a lot of supporters. 52-year-old Andy who is a soccer coach said, "Hayley was so positive. Sometimes, I would think, ‘Why us?’ She wouldn’t accept it when the NHS sent her home to die and did lots of her own research. I hope her story inspires others to do the same."
Unfortunately, Hayley's cancer was misdiagnosed by doctors who claimed that it was a form of eczema. After 18 months of thinking that it was eczema, he was hit with the reality after they did a biopsy. "The manager’s PA ran on to the pitch, telling me my wife was on the phone. That conversation is as vivid today as ever. Hayley was sobbing. She said, ‘I’ve got cancer’. Our world came crashing down." They found out that she had Paget’s disease of the nipple.
The disease is said to be a rare form of cancer in which cancer cells collect in or around the nipple. Soon after she was diagnosed with another form of cancer this time in her liver. The verdict was given and they told her she had less than 9 months to live. "The consultant was in tears as she broke the news to us. We sat in shock as we realized Hayley might not see our children grow up. I couldn’t help but feel angry it hadn’t been spotted sooner. It’s hard not to think, ‘What if’?”
Things started to look up after a couple of times of chemo. "Every milestone was precious. Cancer made us focus on memories we all take for granted. It wasn’t long before Hayley was saying she wanted to beat the odds and live as long as she possibly could. Hayley was so positive from the start, even when she was so tired and when the chemotherapy made her beautiful blonde hair fall out.”
Tragically, that process stopped working on her too. Hayley, however, refused to accept it, says Andy. "She wouldn’t accept it and began researching ways to prolong her life. Every moment was special, from our holidays to school plays. We learned to enjoy simple things like watching a film as a family." She went on to get on a trial drug programme that gave her another 18 months to live.
By now, her journey was being followed by 8K people on Facebook. Just when things were looking up, once again, her body stopped responding to therapy - and the news was given to them on Christmas in 2015. She had become immune to it. "It was quite a shock, not exactly the best Christmas present. The NHS said Hayley should put together an end of life plan and talked of palliative care. She refused. She wanted to make it to Holly’s 16th the following October. She said, ‘Let’s scrabble around again, see what we can find'".
She then decided she was going to give immunotherapy a shot. The treatment, however, was expensive. It was to be done at the Hallwang Clinic in Germany, where just one-time cost up to £20,000. This was the time that her following proved to be real support - in just two weeks she raised more than double of the amount for one round on her Go Fund Me page - £50,000. She would go on to raise £235,000 in total and would go through the therapy 30 times before things got better.
Once more, in April her body began to deteriorate. This time around cancer had spread to her brain. "She didn’t want the children to see her in there as she was convinced she’d be coming home to them. She was like a wounded animal, protecting her young. The last time I saw her, she had lost her voice and couldn’t speak but somehow, she managed to whisper, ‘I love you’. I held her hand and told her she could go to sleep. I promised I’d look after the children, I said all of the things you should say. But a boxer doesn’t give up in the last round. She wanted to keep fighting. When she came to matches, I’d see her in the crowd and she’d always give a thumbs up, it was our little thing.
"As I was leaving that day, she found just enough strength to give me one last thumbs up. Just hours later, she died. I gathered the children in the living room and I said, ‘I’m so sorry, Mum has died, and she isn’t coming back’. They burst into tears. We had lots of cuddles and I gave them cake and let them stay up."
Andy is keeping her fighting spirit going. As he plans the funeral for his beloved wife he also said that he will campaign to make immunotherapy and cancer medications more accessible. "Hayley sat in waiting rooms with women who accepted there was nothing the NHS could do. Hayley refused to do this and lived more than six years longer than anyone predicted. I want to encourage other sufferers to have the same fighting spirit and realize there are other options. Cancer will never destroy the family she built. It’s my job to make sure the world doesn’t forget her – and that her legacy lives on in our children.”