A young mum has vowed to make her kids’ dreams come true after being told she has just three years to live.
Mum-of-four Ashleigh Ellerton, 27, who has terminal breast cancer, said: “I’m going to fight for my life and live as long as I can.”
She and her husband Simon have promised to do all they can for kids Bella, nine, Rory, eight, Brody, seven, and three-year-old Luca.
Ashleigh said: “I want to see my children grow up. I want to live. Our dream now is to make as many memories as possible.
“Me and Simon have four beautiful children. We have told them I am going to die and Bella asked, ‘Where do you go when you’re gone?’
“I told her heaven is what you make it… it’s where all your dreams can come true.”
Ashleigh added: “We want to take the children to Florida, Disneyland, Scotland, Wales and Egypt. We will cram these memories into the three years – and if I get any longer, that’s a bonus.”
She was diagnosed with grade two inflammatory breast cancer three years ago after finding a lump.
Ashleigh said: “I was 24 and our youngest son was five months old.
“The doctor said I was too young to have breast cancer and that it was mastitis, a milk lump.
“He sent me home with some painkillers.
“Apparently breast cancer at 24 is rare, but I knew something was wrong. I’ve had kids and I knew the difference between a milk lump and a breast lump. This one was purple and bruised.
“I had this impending feeling of doom, a strong gut feeling, so I persisted and told the doctor I needed referring.”
Thirteen weeks later, after a series of scans and biopsies, Ashleigh was told she had cancer and underwent gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy and a single mastectomy.
The treatment made Ashleigh lose all her hair – but it was worth it when she was given the all-clear.
She said: “It was such a massive relief. I thought I’d got my life back on track.”
But around six weeks ago, Ashleigh, from Bridlington, East Yorks, started feeling poorly again.
She said: “I’d been suffering with dreadful backache, shortness of breath and a cough. My breast surgeon advised me to go to Scarborough Hospital for a scan but instead they sent me home with painkillers.”
Ashleigh later found out her liver was not functioning properly and after further tests she was booked in to have her gallbladder removed.
But during the surgery, doctors found the cancer had spread and gave Ashleigh the devastating news she had three years to live. She said: “I knew it was cancer, I’d known all along.
“There were lesions on my liver and further investigations found lymph nodes surrounding my heart.
“If I’d been referred sooner, I’d have 10 years’ life expectancy, not three.
“I am angry, upset and devastated that this has happened to me.”
Ashleigh said she now understands the heartache Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding and her family endured last year. The 39-year-old singer died in September after revealing she had breast cancer.
Devastated Ashleigh said: “I know what Sarah Harding felt like now when someone tells you that you don’t have long to live.
“It’s awful. I’m in denial… you want to live for ever and do everything.
“I got a kind of apology from the doctors – ‘sorry we didn’t find it sooner’. Now I’m going to fight for my life and live as long as I can.”
Ashleigh said there was no history of cancer in her family but told how her children will all now be checked when they turn 16.
She hopes to carry out charity work to help other cancer sufferers who are dying and leaving their young children behind.
Ashleigh said: “I want to set up something like that – leave a legacy for others who find themselves in this awful position.”
Her husband Simon, 35, hit out at the “blunders” that led to his wife’s late diagnosis.
The couple have been together for 11 years and celebrated their first wedding anniversary last week.
Simon, who is a meat packer, said: “There have been blunders. She should have been diagnosed earlier, then we’d have had longer together. They’ve played God with her life. I hope nobody else ever goes through what we’re going through.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Ashleigh and her family make memories. To donate, visit gofund.me/29e9bf13.