Bereaved Story

“If my heart could have broken in half, it did that year”

Claire Solly shares with us her mother-in-law Lesley's experiences with this disease, as well as how she's raised awareness!

Claire Solly

Before her diagnosis in 2018, Lesley Solly suffered from mid back pain, indigestion, tummy pain, pain on eating, change in toilet habit, as well as fatigue and extreme tiredness. Daughter in law, Claire, reflects on Lesley’s story below:

“We aren’t over the hurt of losing my mum in law. The trauma of her illness alongside the birth of our beautiful twin boys within a few weeks of each other was a whirlwind. I don’t think we will be able to comprehend that for a long time.

If my heart could have broken in half, it did that year. For my husband losing his mum, the memories that were stolen, for the little lives she didn’t get to influence and love. And we are still learning how to piece our hearts back together, four years on.

Lesley passed away barely six months following her diagnosis. And getting the diagnosis was a journey in itself. I have come to understand that early diagnosis is key to surviving this cancer. Lack of recognition from GPs and symptoms is obvious.

Lesley, as so many others are, was misdiagnosed with diabetes. It wasn’t until we questioned and delved and fought, that she was given further diagnostic testing.

So much has changed since Lesley has been gone. I wish she could see her grandkids growing, they share her cheekiness and I see her in them every day. She has left a huge void in my family. Lesley was the bind keeping them all together. She held on to meet her grandsons and then sadly she lost her battle.

For Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in 2021, I decided to try and raise some money. I completed 100 squats a day and ran 10km a week throughout the month. I managed to raise £571 during November. My local gym supported me and members completed a lbs for £s challenge. For every lb a member lost the gym donated £1 to my just giving page. We were super pleased with the amount raised and hope it makes a difference. It’s not much, but hopefully it’s a start.

There is hope beyond heartbreak.