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Mum's relief at beating cancer turned to anguish after baby son died on same day

Mirror logo Mirror 25/03/2017 Amanda Keenan
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When Cara Wright was told she had beaten ovarian cancer it should have been a time of joy and relief.

Instead, her happiness turned to devastation when she was told that her baby son had died.

Cara was attending her final chemotherapy session at hospital when her husband Gavin found that little three-month-old Olly had stopped breathing.

Tearfully, she begged the nurse to halt her treatment and rushed to her son’s side.

Despite their best efforts, doctors were unable to save the tot, who passed away from sudden infant death syndrome.

Cara, 30, told the Daily Record: "Beating cancer should have been the best day of my life but it turned out to be the worst." 

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“Gavin was looking after Olly and he had fallen asleep in his bouncer. He left him for just a few minutes to make lunch and when he returned Olly was unconscious.

“He rang 999 and performed CPR. When the paramedics arrived they tried to stabilise our son and rushed him to hospital. The medics tried everything but couldn’t save him.

“When the nurses took us to see Olly I was numb with shock. He was lying peacefully in a Moses basket and he just looked like he was sleeping.

“It was agonising knowing that he wasn’t going to wake-up and that he wouldn’t be coming home with us.

“The doctors told us there was nothing we could have done to save Olly but it didn’t make our loss any easier to accept.”

The couple buried Olly in their hometown of Lossiemouth, Moray, where Gavin was stationed as an RAF serviceman.

Cara, 30, had been diagnosed with cancer while she was four months pregnant with Olly, after a routine check-up showed a tumour on her right ovary.

She said: “I’d had some blood tests and felt bloated and sickly. I thought it was just morning sickness but the doctors were concerned."

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“Cancer never crossed my mind and it came as huge shock. I was worried about losing Olly and if I’d be able to carry him to full-term.

“Incredibly, if I hadn’t fallen pregnant then the cancer would not have been caught so quickly. Olly saved my life and now I wanted to do everything to keep him safe.

“After I had the op to remove the tumour, I was told his heartbeat was strong and it was a relief to know we were both okay.

“Everything seemed to be going smoothly and I went for regular check-ups.” A few weeks later, Cara got a call from her doctor saying the tumour had burst during surgery, which may have left cancerous particles behind.

She was told her son would have to be delivered eight weeks premature so she could start chemotherapy straight away.

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In June 2010, Olly was born at 29 weeks by Caesarean section, weighing just 3lb 15oz. Cara said: “He was so fragile and the same size as Gavin’s hand. We had a few minutes together before he was taken to neonatal intensive care.

“After three weeks, we were discharged and Olly came off his feeding tube. He was a strong wee boy and the doctors were happy with his progress.

“A week later I was readmitted for an intensive course of chemotherapy.” Cara received her treatment in Aberdeen, which was more than a two-hour drive from the family home, so Olly and Gavin could only visit her once a week.

Despite everything Olly had been through, he was a picture of health and always had a big smile for his mum.

She said: “He was so happy and always a joy to be around. He was a very laid back baby and no matter how bad I felt, seeing Olly always made me feel better.

“Chemo was tough, I was exhausted and lost my hair, but I was determined to get better. I was looking forward to seeing my boy grow up and we had lots of exciting plans for the future.

“Thankfully, a few months later I was told the treatment worked and I was clear of cancer.”

It was the news the couple had hoped for but they could never have imagined that tragedy would strike just a few hours later.

Cara added: “I was looking forward to leading a normal life again and couldn’t wait to get home to Gavin and Olly.

“I was due out of hospital on the day my son died – September 17, 2010. I was rushed from Aberdeen to hospital in Elgin, where Olly was taken by ambulance. When I got there I could tell from Gavin’’s face that Olly was gone.

“It was the most awful feeling and I was totally numb.”

Cara admits coping with the loss was extremely difficult but she’s determined Olly’s death will not be in vain.

She described: “A massive part of me wanted to curl up and die. We were broken and we had to really dig deep to get through each day.

“The only reason I carried on is because Olly saved my life. I felt I owed it to him to keep going.”

The couple thought they would never be able to have more children and were stunned when Cara fell pregnant with Maisy, now five, in August 2012.

They went on to have another son Logan, two, in November 2014.

Cara added: “I call them my miracle kids because I never thought I’d be able to have any more.

“We’ve been very lucky but Olly is never far from our thoughts. We keep his pictures around our home and we miss him everyday.

“He’s always going to be our brave wee boy and Maisy and Logan’s big brother.”

Ovarian Cancer has almost doubled in the UK in the last 40 years. It is known as the “silent killer” as many women brush off associate their symptoms with their time of the month.

Only 30 per cent of those diagnosed each year will survive.

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