It all started with my mom

“Since I was 14, cancer has been a constant in my family’s life. My mom was so young when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer - She was only 34. She underwent multiple surgeries and chemo, and thankfully was in remission for years, but she eventually lost her battle at 46. She only met one of my children, and that has always been difficult for me. I took her death incredibly hard as she was my best friend, and was in the prime of her life.

I was in my early 20s and had just gotten married and she and my husband had this amazing bond - they were very close. We also just had a baby who my mom couldn’t get enough of. She spent her days absolutely in love with our daughter - she was an amazingly loving grandma. She knew weeks before my wedding that her test results weren’t good. But she kept it from me as she didn’t want me to focus on anything but our big day. I remember the gut wrenching twists my stomach took when I asked her a few weeks after our honeymoon - how her test results were. That was the beginning of the end.

She fought hard for over a year. During this time, I found out that I was pregnant, but we ended up losing the baby. Then we lost my mom two months later. It was such a difficult time for my family. Soon after the funeral, I found out I was pregnant with our son, and that was the most wonderful surprise. Thankfully I had the most amazing husband, and now that our family was complete and healthy we were able to heal and create the life we wanted.

But, I still miss my mom everyday, and sometimes I’m shocked that I’ve accomplished so much without her. My kids are almost adults, and yet she missed it all. That never goes away. That is why I had the fight in me to have the preventative surgeries - cancer has caused a lot of pain in my family. I wanted to spare my kids some of that if I could.”

Sheri Lerat