A family from Ahoghill near Ballymena are making a very special wish this Christmas in memory of their wife and mother, Hazel Hood.
Local farmer, Richard Hood and his daughters Rebekah (5) and Megan (2) are launching Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Wish Upon a Star appeal, which will see the Cancer Centre’s Christmas tree adorned with hundreds of gold stars, each carrying the personal wish, message or name of a loved one affected by cancer.
People who make a wish will also be given their very own star to hang on their tree at home, keeping that special someone close at this time of year. Richard and his daughters have dedicated their very own star to Hazel, who was just 32 when she lost her battle with breast cancer in September last year.
Christmas will not be the same for the family, but as Hazel’s attitude remained positive because of her faith, Richard’s wish is that her story would encourage others to look to Jesus for salvation and to keep fighting.
“When Hazel was in hospital having our daughter, Megan, she found a lump on her right breast that unfortunately turned out to be cancer. Early tests showed that it had already spread to her lymph nodes, breast bone and hip. At every review appointment it never brought good news and eventually the cancer spread to her spine, liver, lungs and brain. Hazel fought cancer for approximately 1 1/2 years and she was the strongest, bravest person I know. When people met Hazel they could not believe that she was riddled with cancer, as she was so positive. The girls and her faith kept her going, as did her fantastic sense of humour which stayed throughout and helped us all through those really dark days,” said Richard
“Christmas in our house was always very fun filled. Hazel loved this time of year as it was spent with the girls, our family and friends. She had the house decorated like Santa’s grotto and loved the smell of scented pine cones and cinnamon throughout the house. Even when she was really sick she took the girls into Ballymena for the turning on of the Christmas lights, as nothing was going to get in the way of her spending precious time with the girls and making Christmas fun and exciting, despite what she was going through.
“Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Wish Upon a Star appeal is a really special way for us to remember Hazel, as we spent so much time at the Cancer Centre and that is the place where we said goodbye to her. It was also the place that looked after Hazel so well and the doctors and nurses did all they could for her during such a difficult time. We will also be able to have Hazel’s star shining bright on our tree at home, which is a lovely way that we can feel like she is still with us and looking out for us.”
Stars are available for a donation of £5 and can be purchased directly from the Friends of the Cancer Centre office. For more information on the Wish Upon a Star appeal please call 028 9069 9393.