Heartbreaking image shows a mother asleep in pile of Lego

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A heartbreaking picture shows a single mother, exhausted from gruelling chemotherapy, asleep in a pile of Lego.  

Laura Corrigan, of Durham, was captured motionless by her six-year-old son, Max, who she was playing with at the time.

Ms Corrigan is battling bowel cancer that has spread to her lungs and bringing up her two young sons and said doing both is ‘exhausting’.

The 36-year-old has been undergoing treatment to battle her disease since she was diagnosed last year in order to shrink the tumours.

Bowel cancer strikes around 41,000 people each year in the UK, and kills nearly 16,000, statistics show.

Speaking to the Mirror Online about the photograph, she said: ‘My son took the picture. It was complete exhaustion. 

‘[My youngest] charges about from 5am, it’s exhausting. I occasionally fall asleep on the sofa… when I stop, I fall asleep.’ 

She revealed that the picture, posted on Instagram, was taken when she was having radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Ms Corrigan often posts her images and thoughts on her blog, called Cancer, Milk & Rainbows, which has 388 followers. 

She was diagnosed with bowel cancer last March, almost nine months after giving birth to Finn, her youngest son, 19 months.

Doctors initially suspected her symptoms, painful bowel movements and going to the toilet more often than usual, were likely due to irritable bowel syndrome. 

But tests later revealed she had bowel cancer, which strikes around 41,000 people each year in the UK.

Around half of these cases are preventable, claim charities.

Cutting down on red and processed meat, keeping a healthy weight, not smoking and keeping active can reduce the risk of the disease. 

The fourth most common cancer in the UK, after breast, prostate and lung, was once thought of as a disease of old age. However, growing numbers of young people are being diagnosed with it, too.

Ms Corrigan’s touching picture, posted online last August, comes alongside new research from Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charity revealed that 370,000 women battling cancer, or in recovery, are using social media to help boost their self-esteem.

More than a third felt like they could ‘be themselves again’ using blogs online, the research released ahead of World Cancer Day on Sunday shows.

Of those gaining a self-esteem boost from using social media, 35 per cent said that social media takes their mind off their illness and half said that the networks help restore some normalcy into their lives with cancer.

Ms Corrigan told the Mirror that her Instagram page has helped her through her year-long battle with cancer.

She said: ‘I have an Instagram page and blog I write when I can, and have connected with other people a lot that way, as well as in Facebook support groups.’

Her blog has allowed her to become ‘good friends’ with another woman from her local area who was also told she had bowel cancer.

And she is ‘amazed’ at the messages she gets from kind-hearted strangers, posting their best wishes from all over the country.

Dany Bell, treatment and recovery specialist advisor at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: ‘These findings ahead of World Cancer Day show that for many, life with cancer is still life and being able to share their cancer journey or speak to others who are going through something similar can offer a much-needed support system.’

For information and support, go to www.macmillan.org.uk/worldcancerday  

 

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