An inspirational mum given just over a year to live is determined to spend her final months reaching out to others.
Jayne Woodhouse, 46, was dealt a devastating blow a fortnight ago when doctors revealed she had aggressive terminal cancer.
Other than back pain, she was fit and healthy and was looking forward to returning to work after the Christmas holidays following a promotion. But a scan linked to her back problems revealed a shadow on her right lung.
Further tests revealed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, liver and spine and doctors broke the news that it was too far advanced to cure.
Jayne’s friends and family were left as stunned as her and set up a Smiles4Jayne Go Fund Me campaign which raised more than £5,000 in just three days.
The group’s founders wanted the money to pay for Jayne to make memories with her husband David, 40, known as Woody, but she is determined funds should help others going through the trauma of cancer.
I want my legacy to be a ripple through Sunderland of people helping each other. If people can do all this for me, they can do it for other people tooJayne Woodhouse
Jayne, of Wear View Estate, near Red House, said: “I’m lucky, I have people around me. I’ve been blown away by the support I’ve had. Everyone has rallied around and my employers have been amazing. But some people go through this alone and I just want to make a difference to their day if I can. “Me and Woody have a bucket list, but we have enough money aside to do it. We want to hire a VW camper van and go to Scotland and the Lake District with our dogs and I’ve always wanted to drive the Amalfi Coast in Italy in a classic car. We had planned to do it for my 50th, but we will have to bring it forward.
“We appreciate people wanting to help us, however, we want any money raised from now to help others.”
Funds raised through Smiles4Jayne will be donated to Sunderland Cancer Patient Support, which is the dedicated charity of the Royal Hospital’s Macmillan department, and the Hug in a Bag charity, which gives out bags of gifts and vouchers to women with breast cancer in a bid to brighten their day.
Though doctors can’t rid Jayne’s body of the disease, she is embarking on a course of chemotherapy to prolong her life and prevent the tumours from spreading, pressing on her spine, and potentially preventing her from walking. They’ve said the way the adenocarcinoma has mutated in her body is rare and specialists are trying experimental drugs to treat her.
The key account manager for energy firm UtilityWise is hoping to do as much as she can over the next few months and in March will renew her wedding vows to Woody, her partner of 17 years and husband of nine years, at The Pullman in Seaburn.
Jayne, who is mum to Ryan Gregory, 24, said: “The doctors have said the average survival period of my condition is 13 months, but I’m not having that. They say they’ve rarely seen a cancer like this in someone so young, that I should be in my 70s with health problems and smoke 40 a day to have it. So hopefully I can live longer than they predict.
“They say I’m the healthiest dying person they’ve seen.”
She added: “I feel privileged that I’ve been able to set things in place and do things I want to do. I could come home and lock myself away and cry, but I want to be positive. I’m not scared of dying, I feel a weird calmness. I call my close friends ‘my angels’ and I have my angels looking over me,”
Jayne’s friends and family, Paul Robertson, Joanne Woodhouse Graham, Scott and Natalie Cockton, Leesa Lee and Grant and Debra Watson set up Smiles4Jayne with a target of £2,000, which it smashed within days.
Now they are also planning a charity night at The Point, in Park Lane, on April 2, which will feature casino tables and prizes to raffle and auction, including a weekend to Ibiza where Jayne and Woody have spent many happy summers.
Woody, who works at Nissan, said: “Jayne has been as positive as this since day one and that’s keeping everyone else going.”
The selfless mum said: “They were frightened about telling me about the fund as they know what we’re like, we don’t want people to feel sorry for us.
“But I want my legacy to be a ripple through Sunderland of people helping each other. If people can do all this for me, they can do it for other people too.
“All my friends and family and have been so supportive and have been posting pictures on Facebook. I look through them and smile, I have had an amazing time, a good life, and that’s what’s important.”
• To donate to Smiles4Jayne visit www.gofundme.com/smiles4jayne