Outpouring of support for family of mum diagnosed with terminal cancer - here's how you can help

The family of a mum diagnosed with terminal cancer have given their heartfelt thanks after the devastating news led to an outpouring of support.
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Rachelle Waugh, 33, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in November 2020, after which she underwent extensive treatment.

With the support of her family, the mum-of-two fought the disease every step of the way.

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But, despite the efforts of medics and treatments involving radiotherapy, chemotherapy and brachytherapy, the family received the devastating news that the cancer has spread to Rachelle’s lungs, and is now terminal.

Keir and Rachelle with daughters Willow and EverlyKeir and Rachelle with daughters Willow and Everly
Keir and Rachelle with daughters Willow and Everly

Since they revealed the dire situation to friends and neighbours, they say they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support they received.

This includes from The Custom’s House, where husband Kier, from South Shields, the son of renowned playwright Ed Waugh, previously worked for more than a decade.

The theatre and arts centre is staging a special variety show on May 18, which will see profits go to support Willow, nine, and Everly, five.

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"As a family we are going through a gut-wrenching journey that sadly, at some point, will result in two beautiful children losing their wonderful, amazing mother and I my wife,” he said.

Rachelle and Keir with children Willow and EverlyRachelle and Keir with children Willow and Everly
Rachelle and Keir with children Willow and Everly

"However, the warmth, love and kindness that has been extended to us by friends, family, colleagues and now former employers has been nothing short of overwhelming.”

Keir said he was particularly grateful to the Customs House and its executive director Ray Spencer for the fundraising show, The House Is Yours: For Willow and Everly, given the upheaval the venue has experience during the pandemic.

“I joined the Customs House as a naive 15-year-old way back in 2000 and spent 12 years brilliant years there making friends and memories for life,” said Keir, who married Rachelle in April 2019.

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"To this day it has a special place in my affections and it gave me the experiences that shaped me as a person.

Rachelle married Keir just over two years ago.Rachelle married Keir just over two years ago.
Rachelle married Keir just over two years ago.

“With everything that the venue has gone through owing to coronavirus, for Ray to reach out and make this incredibly kind gesture to my family is incredibly thoughtful and humbling.

"On behalf of the four of us, I want to thank Ray, his team and everyone who attends the show for their generosity. It's moments like this where you realise that you may leave somewhere but you never leave the family"

Rachelle is receiving palliative care from Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, with her family intent on making her remaining time - which, if chemotherapy begins to work, could be as many as 17 months - filled with as much joy and love as possible.

The Customs House variety show intends to add to this fundraising effort and significantly boost the amount raised for the pair.

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Customs House Executive Director, Ray Spencer, said: “The Customs House team, in particular those involved in the show, were really shocked to hear the dreadful news and prognosis for Rachelle and desperately sad for Keir and his family.

“We hope by doing the show we demonstrate to the Waugh family that they are not alone. We hope the community will buy a ticket and help support the girls’ future needs in this the most difficult of times.”

Tickets priced at £12 and are available online at: www.customshouse.co.uk; or, from the box office on: 0191 454 1234.

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