MUM-OF-FIVE Susan Freeman’s brush with death brought her even closer to her family.
The 38-year-old has battled through a string of heartaches, but remained positive throughout.
Susan’s strength and conviction led her son, Jason, 14, to nominate her for the Echo’s I Love Mum competition.
Eight years ago, Susan, of Vicarage Close, Hetton, underwent a hysterectomy at Sunderland Royal Hospital, but there were complications and she nearly lost her life on the operating table.
After fighting for her life, Susan, married to Shaun, 39, recovered and regained enough strength to return home.
She said: “I was heavily sedated so, to be truthful, I didn’t know much of what was going on, but looking back, the thought of leaving Shaun and the babies filled me with dread.”
Recovering with a new lease of life, Susan, who suffers from severe and painful osteoporosis, was inspired to live life to the full and decided to follow her dream of working with children.
She enrolled on a four-year college course focusing on working with creche children up to being a teaching assistant.
She then completed a three-year degree in early childhood studies at Sunderland University, graduating in July 2010.
“It took me a long time to recover from the operation,” Susan said. “It was between six months and a year before I was able to get back on my feet and do anything.
“My dream from then was to work with children and it inspired us to live every day as if it was my last.
“You don’t know what’s round the corner and that’s what I try and get the children to do, live life as fully as they can.”
After graduating, Susan’s career plans were put on hold when her osteoporosis led to her shattering her wrist in three places, causing her hand to become numb.
She is currently waiting for her fourth operation.
Jason, who was recently diagnosed with ADHD and mild autism, said: “She always puts us before herself so I thought this would be something nice to do for her.
“Mum is an inspiration to family and friends.
“She is a reliable and trustworthy person to know, who anyone can count on for advice and help.
“She has been through many heartaches and she never complains and just gets on with things.
“We feel mum is a very special person and want to let her know just how much we love and care for her and appreciate her.”
Susan, also mum to Kirsty, 22, Krystina, 19, Steven, 18, and Shauna, 17, added: “It’s lovely to be nominated, but I don’t feel I do anything special.”