A dying mum’s final wish for her five children to stay in their family home after her death is being made possible thanks to thousands of kind strangers from across the world.
Midwife Susan Stephenson, 47, of Ripponden, feared her children would be forced to leave their much-loved home if the mortgage was not paid off.
The brave mum, described as “wonder woman” by her children has fought breast cancer for six years, but was told in July that the disease was terminal after spreading to her bones and liver.
With only weeks left to live, her family were desperate to raise the £65,000 needed to secure their future.
But through an online fundraising page set up by her sister and the unyielding help of their local community, donations of 67,000 have smashed the original target.
While the agonising illness has left Susan confined to her bed, she thanked the scores of kind-hearted donors touched by her story, helping to make her dream possible.
She said: “This is a thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the shares, donations, love and such lovely comments for the crowdfunding page.
“The generosity of love, spirit, and money is utterly overwhelming. I am so so grateful. I’m am grateful of course, in monetary terms, but I feel absolutely bathed in love and kindness. I thank you all.”
Susan received the devastating blow her cancer had returned just one week before her son Cameron’s 21st birthday. The news came after she began suffering from back pain and fatigue.
Her children, Cameron, 21, Connor, 19, twins Jemima and Emily, 18, and Wilf, nine, are now taking care of their mother and take comfort in the outpouring of support as they look to the future.
Jemima said: “I feel like it’s going to be very difficult, but it now feels possible. It means that we won’t be worrying about the practical side of it, so we can manage the emotional side.
“We were talking to mum about the mortgage and we said ‘we have to make it work’. We all wanted to keep the house and the only way to do it was Cameron taking on the mortgage.
“The house has so much sentimental value, we are all emotionally attached to it, we have all grown up here and our lives are based here.
“It was mum’s one big worry weighing down on her shoulders.”
Cameron, who works in sales, added: “I was getting really stressed about it, it was upsetting me as it was just not an option for me on top of everything else going on.
“We all share the responsibility between us and we always have done, but the idea of taking a mortgage on was a lot of pressure.
“But this is reassurance and its been a really big lift for mum.”
Within hours of Susan’s sister, Angie Collinson, setting up the Just Giving crowdfunding page, donations and poignant comments poured in from women and families Susan has helped over the years.
Emily said: “I love to see the things people have written about her, one comment said the first time they met mum was in the kitchen and she wrapped her arms around her.
“The money is amazing but the comments are even better and almost more reassuring than the money.”
Susan worked as an independent midwife for 17 years and her family say she has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to help those most in need. They said: “She’s wonder woman and just so selfless. She has always gone that extra mile because it’s important to her. It’s a real testament to her impact on people’s lives and it reflects the way she is and the way she has acted selflessly towards people.
“Its completely come back around to her - it’s all the little things she’s done for lots of people, but things that have made a difference.
“We would like to thank the local community, although donations have come in from all over the world, the people in the community are the people who started it.
“They have done washing for us, when we came back from holiday the house was spick and span, people have come round to ask what needs doing.
“The support they have shown reassures us we are going to manage.”
The family enjoyed one last holiday in the South of France last month and created memories to treasure for a lifetime.
Jemima said: “It was mum’s last week that she was on her feet on her own, it was amazing. The sea was just minutes away and we would wheel her down to the beach and she got to swim in the sea.
“You could see it was good for her soul. It was nice for the family to be together and we will treasure that holiday forever.”
Now Susan’s dream is on its way to being realised as she enjoys her precious last days surrounded by family.
lDonate at https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/a-collinson