In Loving Memory : Jemma’s Journey

January 1st brings a new start, a new chapter and new beginnings. A new year of hope and promises to make the most of the life we have been given. January 1st 2015 also marked the day in which I lost a friend. This post today isn’t going to be my usual beauty ramblings however it is a tribute. A tribute to my beautiful friend Jemma and the legacy that she leaves. I am writing this with a heavy heart and tear filled eyes, as I tell you about one of the bravest and most inspirational people I have been lucky enough to meet. This is Jemma’s story and I hope I do it justice of telling it to you.

Jemma's Journey

Back in 2008, I checked in for a flight at work with an empty suitcase and a purse full of dollars, ready to jet off to Florida. I was excited about this trip as I was flying with some really good friends; Mel, Nikki and Jemma . We were so looking forward to hitting the malls, shopping til we dropped and treating ourselves to cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. I’ll never forget how Jemma kept saying that she had a bad stomach whilst we were there and how we jokingly said she was pregnant. Imagine our surprise when we had got home from the trip to hear that Jemma had been grounded as she was having a baby! I was so happy for her, and when she gave birth to baby Alfie I was overjoyed. As with the nature of the job and when life gets in the way, I kept in touch with Jemma via the medium of Facebook, following every moment of her being a mummy and watching Alfie grow. I remember when she came back to work and did her first flight back on my flight. I swear we didn’t get any work done, we just gossiped in the back galley. It was so lovely to see how happy she was, her broad Barnsley accent bursting with pride as she spoke about her gorgeous boy.

It was only about two and a half years ago when Jemma broke the devastating news to me that she had cancer. After having Alfie at the age of 22, she was called into the doctors for her first smear test aged 25. On Christmas Eve 2012, Jemma was told she had cervical cancer and the only option was to have a hysterectomy. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy worked well enough for Jemma to return to work with a positive future in sight. A swollen leg complaint led to the discovery that the cancer had returned and had spread to the lymph nodes and a tumour in the vaginal wall that unfortunately was terminal.

The entire time that Jemma was going through this, she remained so strong and fought her hardest. Undergoing intensive treatments left her weak but she still remained positive for Alfie and her husband Chris. A charity was set up for Jemma’s Journey where a target of £40,000 was set to send Jemma to Germany for an alternative treatment that hopefully would prove more effective in reducing the size of the tumour. So far a massive £50,000 has been raised, money of which helped send Jemma to Germany.

Only six weeks after the treatment, my darling friend took her last breath and took her wings as a true sky angel. She will never, ever be forgotten. Her bravery throughout her whole ordeal was unbelievable. Jemmas facebook page, Jemma’s Journey, gained over 8000 likes in a matter of weeks. Strangers took time out to donate to her cause. Raising over £50,000 is a huge achievement and I’m proud of everyone who contributed to help Jemma experience further treatment.

Jemma's Journey

Jemma will always be forever in my heart. The news of her death has hit me harder than I ever thought it could do. It has floored me and I am struggling to make sense of why this dreadful disease would take my Jemma away. I ask of you one thing. Please take two minutes out of your life to fill in this petition that Jemma was fighting for. She asks for the age of smear tests to be lowered as her first smear test at 25 was too late. I have signed it, and I hope that in Jemma’s memory that you all will sign it as well.

Jemma, you are my inspiration and I am so very proud of you. Keep flying high sky angel. You do not know how much of an impact you’ve made. All my love xxx

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  • Ting

    I’ve signed the petition. I’m so sorry for your loss, and the loss that Alfie and Chris have felt too.
    I had a smear at 19 which caught abnormalities and led to emergency treatment. This only happened because I mentioned to my GP a few abnormal things that had concerned me, not thinking that cervical cancer might be the cause. It’s a scary and devastating prospect being faced with cancer, and if lives can be saved from early detection then this is the right move for our health care system.

  • Oh how truly sad and I am sure she is smiling down at you writing this x

  • Such a heartbreaking story – I’m so sorry for your loss. Jemma sounds like an inspirational friend who will never be forgotten – I’ve just signed the petition and I hope everyone who reads this does too.

    Bx

  • Wow this is very sad, but rightly written and shared with us all. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and I will definitely sign the petition. I have a history of cancer with unfortunately all the females in my close family so it really is so important to get that age lowered 🙁 xxx

  • Oh darling, you left me in tears, it’s such a sad story, I will never understand why so young people have to be taken away. Cancer is such a scary illness, we should always support charities and projects that help with researches and people who battle the cancer. Early diagnosis is often the only way we can be treated successfully. I don’t understand why in UK medical personel ignore the fact that having a first smear at 25 might be too late and also it’s done only every 3 years if I’m correct. In the country I’m coming from women are advised to have it done every year or even every 6 months! Will definitely fill in the petition! x
    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  • I’m so sorry to hear this. RIP beautiful Jemma. Will sign the petition now xx

  • Lily Kittèn

    Such a tragic story, so sorry for your loss. I agree the age limit is ridiculous. We keep hearing horrific stories like this and nothing changes. I’ve signed it. x

  • Anoushka, I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful friend. Her family will be in my thoughts. Several members of my family have been affected my Cancer, it is truly a devastating disease. Sending you huge hugs. xo Kimmy

  • Nafisah Atcha

    I am so sorry anyone has to go through this. This story was moving, aching but beautiful at the same time. Thank you for sharing and may Jemma RIP xxx

  • Keeley

    Signed and shared. xxxx

  • I’ve signed the petition and very much agree! We need to also encourage women to not be so scared of smear tests. Sadly in Jemma’s case it was too late 🙁 But it may save more people if they do go, it’s scary how many who don’t.
    I hope you’re feeling ok hun, keep your chin up for Jemma, I’m sure she’d want to see you carrying on and be so thankful for supporting her cause 🙂 x

  • I am just so sorry you even have to write this post. I can’t imagine the pain you’re feeling and the loss. I fully support this though, and I just wish I could say something more useful!

    Annabel ♥ xxxxx
    Mascara & Maltesers

  • ann hipwell

    so sorry about your lose of your friend,i too lost a friend to cancer 2yrs ago.ive signed x

  • India Benjamin

    I’m so sorry Anoushka, what a horrible thing for everyone to go through. I’ll sign the petition now, anyone should be able to get tested not just those over a certain age.

    India / Touchscreens & Beautyqueens

  • KPsays

    Sorry to hear of your loss Noush! Especially leaving behind a little boy. Hugs to you doll, and sending thoughts of peace to you and her family.

  • So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend Jemma. This post must have been hard for you to type but hopefully some good will come of it.

    I have signed the petition and hopefully a lot of other people will as well to get the age limit dropped for smear tests. This is something that was in the public eye for quite a while but seems to have calmed down now so its nice to see that you are using your blog to bring this back into people’s minds. I hope many other people sign the petition.

    Carrie | http://www.cazmosworld.com

  • Holly Johnson

    Lovely tribute for an amazing woman. We’re lucky to have had her in our lives even though it was only for a short time xxx

    • We are incredibly blessed to have had her in our lives xxx

  • I am very sorry for your loss, you are all in my thoughts at this difficult time. This was heartbreaking to read but so beautifully written. It really is such a devatating disease and I will definitely sign the petition as it is something I feel very strongly about. Sending all my love x