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Episode 10: Life With a Terminally Ill Child


Caring For Your Terminally Ill Child with Joanna Dolan

It’s one of a parent’s worst nightmares: your child gets diagnosed with a terminal illness. What happens as your child goes through chemotherapy and all the struggles? How do you, as carer, deal with it?

When I started this podcast, one of the things I wanted to do was chat to my friends so they could share their stories.

I love listening to people’s stories and I’m always left feeling deep respect for the things they’ve dealt with in their lives and the way they’ve dealt with them.

Jo Dolan, the woman I’m talking to today, is one of those women.

She’s highly educated, a volunteer fire fighter and former taxi driver who’s shaved her head twice to raise funds for cancer research.

And she’s now a much sought after editor for PhD students.

Twelve years ago, Jo’s daughter Kate discovered that she had a melanoma.

Life with a Terminally ill Child

You might think that having a melanoma isn’t a big deal, I know I didn’t.

I thought you just went to the hospital, got it cut out, maybe take some drugs to help clear it up and then carry on with your life.

But you might just make sure that you use more sunscreen and wear a hat.

For Kate, the melanoma wouldn’t clear.

After two years of treatment, cancer got into her brain and Kate died at age 21.

What became clear to Jo was that they actually knew very little of their family’s medical history and had they known more, things might – might – have turned out differently.

About Today’s Guest Joanna Dolan

Owner and Founder of Righting Writing

Jo is a professional editor who works with clients from around the world to ‘prettify their prose’.

Joanna Dolan talks about the process of having a child die of cancer, how it impacts the whole family, the general lack of support available for carers in this situation and how she’s helping families uncover their real medical history.

In the ten years since Kate’s death, Jo’s started to turn her own experiences and insights into a way of helping and supporting other people going through the same kind of thing: being careers to their sick child.

She’s now coming up with her final qualifications as a life coach as well as setting up a website.

Her intention is to help people record their stories for two reasons:

Firstly to hope to share them with their children or grandchildren.

But at the very least to record family medical history so that medical professionals have every piece of medical information that they might need.

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Joanna Dolan