Two women who wrote a book to help a friend with cancer to talk to her son about her illness, now hope their book can help others in a similar situation.

There is no easy way to talk to a young child about illness, but children’s writer Hannah Moorcroft-Jones and graphic designer Emma Haynes hope their new book for children aged two to four, will make things a little easier.

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Ms Moorcroft-Jones, from Buckinghamshire, and Ms Haynes came up with the idea of writing the book, ‘I wish Mummy could…’ to support their 38-year-old friend Gemma West, from Banbury, who was struggling to explain to her then three-year-old son William why she could not do things.

The book was so well received, the pair have adapted it to support other families where one of the parents has been diagnosed with a debilitating illness.

Oxford Mail: i wish book cover

All profits from the sale of the book will go to the Hummingbird Centre, a cancer support charity based in Launton, near Bicester which has been supporting Ms West.

The mum, who is from Banbury, was diagnosed with FAP (familial adenomatous polyposis), a condition which causes people to be more at risk of developing bowel polyps and cancer, in March 2018.

Since then, she has had cancer of the bowel, liver and lungs and has had to undergo major operations and chemotherapy.

Ms West, who is a silversmith, said: “William seems to have grown up knowing Mummy is ‘delicate’ but over the last six months he has noticed me being unwell more and sees I’m unable to do things like drive and that I need to rest and can’t play as much when I have had operations or chemo.

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“Although he takes it in his stride, when I read him our book for the first time he turned to me and said ‘I wish we could do all this mummy’ and it made me realise just how much I had been missing doing all the things too.

"Using the right tone and language and beautiful illustrations helped him understand why the two of us can’t always do the things he would like to do. They have created a truly wonderful book.”

Ms Moorcroft-Jones said: “We wanted the book to be a conversation opener – we have adapted it to create a version for both Mummy and Daddy so parents can start having important conversations with young children to explain why they can’t do things, without giving too much information.”

The book is available on Amazon.

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