This is the heartbreaking story of Lisa Wells, the winner of HELLO!'s 2018 Star Mum competition. This brave mother, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel and liver cancer at the age of just 31, when her youngest daughter was just TK months old, has set up an appeal to raise money for her two young daughters. Lisa was presented by her award at Thursday's inaugural awards ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel. "The event itself was amazing, I honestly could not believe my luck that I had won. My mum's friend had nominated me but I was so shocked to learn that I reached the final five," explains Lisa. "Everyone had a touching story and I was truly lost for words when I heard the news."
Lisa's story begins last October, shortly after she welcomed baby Saffia, a little sister for five-year-old Ava-Lily. Her devastating diagnosis reveled that the aches and pains that she had put down to the rigours of pregnancy had been warning signs. This vibrant young mother was given between two and 12 months to live. Married to her childhood sweetheart Dan, who she has been with since she was 14, Lisa remains determined to leave her precious daughters a lasting legacy. "I want them to know their mum did all of this in their name," Lisa says of her girls. "My legacy will not be filled with sadness, but joy, laughter and love."
She has since amassed an army of friends, family and supporters - #LisasArmyUK - whose support will help her girls through all the cherished milestones that she will miss. On Mother's Day this weekend, Lisa's intrepid army embarked on a 12-mile March On Cancer, to raise money for the future of her girls and for the Dorothy House Hospice, near Bath, which provides support to the families of patients undergoing end of life care. "The march was fabulous," she shared. "It was so much fun to see everyone enjoy themselves. It has been an overwhelming time, seeing all the support and messages that we have received. If it means making memories than I would feel like I have done my job. I want my daughters to feel proud and to enjoy these memories."
On how she approached the devastating diagnosis with her daughters - in particular, her eldest, Lisa has revealed that best way was to be honest since the pair have "no secrets". She explained: "Me and Ava, we don't keep secrets. But at such a young age, she doesn't understand. She knows that I have something wrong with my tummy but I have made sure that if someone has a tummy ache, it's doesn't necessarily mean cancer - she can't live with the fear." She added: "The diagnosis itself was such a huge shock, you just never think that it will be you and that you are going to experience it first-hand."
Lisa, who is looking forward to hosting a gig with Lisa's Army in April, also confessed that she's coming to terms with the fact that she won't around her children's big milestones; their academic successes, picking out wedding dresses or their first job. "I need to make sure that they will be financially ok, I will be missing them picking out their wedding dresses. But I feel so blessed and I will make the most of everything."
To take a peek inside Lisa's day at the HELLO! Star Mum awards, watch the video above. If you'd like to donate head to her JustGiving appeal here. Lisa and her family are also kindly donating 10 per cent of her crowdfunding fund hospice, Dorothy House.