An Ellesmere Port mum diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour has spoken of her devastation when she received the news that her young son also had terminal cancer.
Jacqueline Rowley was just 26-years-old when she learned she had a terminal tumour and was given between 10 and 14 years to live.
At the time her two sons - Cameron and Ethan - were just five and three-years-old and she said it was “very hard” to deal with.
Jacqueline told our sister site The Liverpool Echo: "I was in the Walton Centre constantly. I never managed more than two months at home without having to go back into hospital.
"Every time Cameron would visit, he would sob and get very upset."
Doctors operated on Jacqueline to try to remove the tumour - called an oligoastrocytoma - which was in the right frontal lobe of her brain.
However, after five operations - and a tragic set back when Jacqueline contracted meningitis - doctors were unable to remove all of the tumour.
Despite this, Jacqueline returned home and, for the next three years, continued to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy and look after her children - with the support of family.
But, when Cameron was eight years old, he began to complain of feeling unwell.
Jacqueline, 32, said: "He started to say that he had no friends and no-one liked him.
"He didn’t know how to explain it. He wasn’t eating very much and would want a lot of cuddles.
"I put it down to anxiety and the fact that he was going to be going on holiday with his dad, who I had separated from, and I wouldn’t be there."
And it was when he returned from the holiday abroad that Jacqueline said she noticed something was wrong.
She said: "It looked liked he had a baby in his belly.
"It was so swollen and I took him straight to the doctors and then to A&E."
It was at A&E that Jacqueline was given the devastating news that her son had an aggressive form of cancer and had just two weeks to live.
She added: "I was devastated - but, in a way, relieved that we finally had a diagnosis because he had just not been himself and it was horrible to see him like that and not know what to do."
Cameron had been diagnosed with desmoplastic round cell tumour, a rare form of cancer which affects only two to three people in every 500,000.
Jacqueline, added: "Before they did anything, they had to ring specialists in America because they didn't know how to treat him.
"He was operated on and was immediately put on chemotherapy - but they said there was nothing more that could be done for him.
"The chemotherapy was only to extend his life."
Heartbroken Jacqueline said Cameron asked her: 'What the word terminal meant' and she had to find a way to explain to her son that he was going to die.
She said: "I said, when you have terminal cancer and you are an old man, you will still have terminal cancer when you die and so will mum.
"Those that don't have terminal cancer won't have it when they die."
The effect of knowing her son will die before her is one that Jacqueline says she has no choice but to accept.
She said: "I could sit here and cry, and some days I do get really down, but being like that doesn’t change anything.
"I try and have as positive outlook as I can. I don’t want my kids to see me like that."
In a tragic turn of events last year, Jacqueline was told that she had another tumour in the back of her brain.
She regularly undergoes chemotherapy, which she takes in tablet form at home, and her son Cameron has chemotherapy every three weeks too.
She said: "One tumour just clearly wasn’t enough. Some people have different holiday homes - we just have different hospitals.
"I will be lucky if I live to 40 years old."
And the effects of both Cameron’s and his mum’s illnesses have had an effect on little Ethan, who is now eight years old.
She said: "Ethan doesn’t understand why Cameron doesn’t have to go to school sometimes and he does.
"He thinks mummy loves Cameron more than him and that is why he gets cuddles and gets to sleep in my bed.
"He was made up when he got impetigo and had to go to the doctors, he was asking would he be like Cameron now."
Cameron’s life prognosis is reliant on his body responding to chemotherapy - without it, he could have as little as three months to live.
Jacqueline added: "He is a typical boy.
"He loves football and his PlayStation and is very active.
"Him and Ethan love playing together and I can tell when he is feeling well, as he gives me attitude.
"Despite missing so much school, he is still third in his class and he is very intelligent.
"He copes with his condition better than me - I get terribly sick with the chemotherapy.
"I have tablets which I take at home, I do it on a Monday when the kids are at school and can be sick up to 40 times but then, by tea time, when they are coming home, I am okay.
"I don’t like speaking about my condition, it is about my son. Cameron just gets on with it, he is amazing.
"There might come a time when he doesn’t respond to chemotherapy anymore and, at that point, we will have to decide on quality or quantity of life.
"Which is why it would be lovely to make memories with the boys while we all can.
"He doesn’t want anything extravagant, there is no Disney World on the list, just things we could do together would be lovely."
A donation fund has been set up by Karen Burgess.
She decorated her house in Regent Road for Halloween and is donating all proceeds left by people who visited to the Rowley family.