A loving Sheffield mum who has been given 18 months to live has asked her best friend to care for her two young children when she dies.
Tina Mannion, aged 36, has been forced to make plans for her children’s future without her after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer last year.
Her best friend, Christina Brown, is a ‘second mum’ to her two little girls and Christina did not hesitate when asked to take responsibility for them when Tina is gone.
Christina has spoken of the emotional moment she promised to take care of her terminally ill best friend’s children when she’s gone.
She has vowed to take Tina’s two young daughters under her wing when their mum loses her battle with cancer.
The 44-year-old said: “She came to me one day after she was first diagnosed and said, ‘Can you promise that you will take care of them if something happens to me?’.
“It was very emotional for me as it was only about a year after my son had died, but I’d have done it anyway even if she hadn’t asked.”
Tina was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and said that her two girls, Kanesha, 11, and nine-year-old Amera, consider Christina a ‘second mum.’
The women, both of Parson Cross, are now trying to raise money to take all of their nine children in total on holiday to create some last memories together.
Tina also has a son, Ethan Brendan, who is 19, and Christina has six adult children.
Tina, who has been told she has 18 months to live, said: “I just want to make some memories for my children to remember me by. We are one big family now.
“Christina has been such a support and comes round every day. We are making the most of the time we have and are trying to keep smiling.”
The family is trying to raise £10,000 to go to Fuerteventura, one of Spain’s Canary islands, and are appealing for people to donate towards the once-in-a-lifetime trip.
The money will cover the cost of passports – as none of them have ever been abroad before – as well as Tina’s medical insurance.
You can help the family by donating at www.justgiving.com/tina-mannion.
Tina said: “My girls were giddy when we discussed the holiday with them. It will be their first time out of the country.
“They’re looking forward to it and we’ll be going to some water parks. I want them to have some nice memories of me.”
Tina and Christina have known each other for more than 20 years. Tina knew Christina’s late son, Robert, when she was younger and would visit the family regularly.
Tina said: “Our families grew up together, some of my happiest memories was going round her house. We used to play out front and get mucky, but then I moved away which was devastating.”
The pair reconnected after Robert died aged 23 of heart disease and kidney failure and Tina moved back to the area.
Christina said: “Tina and the girls were a great support after Robert died. Tina knew my son and used to come round and play although she was a bit older than him.
“I didn’t know how to cope, I wouldn’t eat and she fetched me out of bed.
“Then I saw on Facebook that she had cancer I went straight over to her house. My head was in such a mess.”
Tina credits her friend with keeping her strong throughout her illness.
She said: “Christina takes me to all my appointments. Before I was taking the bus but now she drives me. She talks to the doctors and asks all the questions that I forget to ask.
“She has been amazing.”
Christina said she is devastated that she will lose someone close to her again.
She said: “When Robert died I was a mess. I have cried and screamed for him to come back but now I have to be strong for the girls.”
And Tina knows her children will be in safe hands.
She said: “Christina is a second mum to my children, I don’t want them to go into care. The girls don’t want to be anywhere else.”
If you would like to help send the family on holiday you can donate at www.justgiving.com/tina-mannion