WATCHING her baby son die of leukaemia at just 20 months old was a heart-breaking experience a mother hopes to help save others from going through.
Losing baby Conor in 2006 was devastating for Caroline Smith. Now, she is planning a tandem skydive to raise money for a charity which funds research into the causes, prevention and treatment of childhood cancer.
The skydive is two days after what would have been Conor’s seventh birthday.
He was rushed to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham for tests on New Year’s Eve in 2005, after doctors at Grantham Hospital became concerned. Days later, Conor was diagnosed with advance stage leukaemia and his health quickly deteriorated.
He was put on a course of chemotherapy, which led to him having a heart attack because his organs failed to work properly.
Caroline, 39, of Melbourne Road, Grantham, recalled: “He was dead for 40 minutes and they brought him back.”
It was at this point that Caroline went through an even darker time. She said: “I had a feeling it wasn’t Conor laying there, my son had gone.
“I went in to see him now and then for five or 10 minutes, that’s all I could do. The ventilator was shaking his body and I couldn’t see him like that. I just shut down.”
Conor’s brain soon stopped reacting and the decision was made to turn off his ventilator. Caroline was holding him in her arms as he died.
Brave Caroline and her older son Liam, now aged nine, are still trying to come to terms with losing Conor.
She said: “I was quite bitter to start off with. There’s all these murderers and rapists out there, walking around and getting on with their lives.
“Then you’ve got Conor. He had done nothing wrong, he was just starting out in life.”
The skydive at Langar Airfield on June 5 will be a first for Caroline.
She said: “I’m a bit scared but I’m an andrenaline junkie. I’ll land and want to do it again.”
l If you would like to sponsor Caroline and help raise money for Children with Cancer UK, sign the form in Curtis, the bakery in Welby Street, or call her on 07935 761206.