Mother's Day: Their Smile and Love is The Best Present

27 March 2022

When Natasha Thomas wakes up on Mother’s Day, she’ll be treated to an extra big hug from her daughter Quinn, followed by a walk outside in the sunshine.

Walking together has become a very special hobby for Quinn, Natasha and partner James. Not only is it a chance to get some fresh air and bond as a family, it’s also an important part of four-year-old Quinn’s physiotherapy and a great way of raising money for our Charity.

Natasha said: “I always look forward to Mother’s Day.

“I’m lucky in that I usually get treated to a lie in and breakfast in bed. Then we usually go and see my mum and James’ mum, followed by a nice walk if the weather is nice. I then get my favourite meal cooked for me by Quinn and James.”

Quinn walks with a prosthetic leg, after scans when Natasha was pregnant in 2017 showed her baby’s left leg hadn’t grown properly. Quinn was born in September that year at Saint Mary’s Hospital but doctors have never been able to find out what caused her leg to develop improperly. Despite regular hospital appointments for prosthetic leg changes and check-ups at her local hospital and tests for an unrelated blood condition called Von Willebrand’s Disease at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, life on a children’s ward is something Quinn has always taken in her stride.

Being looked after by a team of doctors was something already familiar to Natasha too, as she was treated at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital’s former site in Pendlebury when she was diagnosed with leukaemia as a youngster. So did her own diagnosis give Natasha a better understanding of what Quinn goes through when she attends hospital?

“To a certain degree, I feel it does help knowing what it was like for me,” explains Natasha. “I try to make it fun for her and make sure she has some snacks for the car. When we’re done it means she has something to look forward to but having said that the hospitals are so good with her. We always try to make sure we go for dinner or something afterwards and treat her if she did well.”

The family also know what its like to spend special occasions in hospital and have a special message for anyone spending Mother’s Day in hospital, as her own mother did when Natasha was fighting leukaemia.

Natasha said: “Any child is the best present a mum could ask for on Mother’s Day. Their smile and love is the best present in the world. Squeeze your little ones wherever they may be and appreciate the time you have with them. You have to stay strong for your little ones but make sure that you get to sit down for even just five minutes with a hot tea (or wine!) to just have a think to yourself too.

“I am the best mum I can be for my little one and I’m so proud of Quinn and proud of myself too for raising such a strong little human who fights no matter what.

“My own mum spent so many years in hospital with me, including on Mother’s Day, and now I’m lucky enough to not only spend it with my mum, but my own daughter too. I will always be grateful for that.”

While lots of us will be able to spend time with our loved ones on Mother’s Day, many of our hard-working NHS nurses will be working on Mothering Sunday, perhaps even looking after mums or treating young patients whose mum’s will be spending the day on the wards. In recognition of the incredible work our staff do, we’re relaunching our popular 30 Miles Your Way event this April.

Quinn took part in the event last year, walking one mile each day to clock up 30 miles – the average distance a nurse working in one of our NHS Manchester hospitals walks in a week.

Not only was it a great form of physiotherapy for Quinn, it enabled her to raise more than £5,800 for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity.

“Quinn loved going out for the walks and she remembers her walks we did last year,” said Natasha. “She now calls that route ‘the miles walk’ which is so cute.”

“She keeps saying she wants to do it again this year, so we’re thinking how we can change it up a bit and push her a little bit more now she’s older.

“The other week we went for a check up at our local hospital and the doctors said it was the best they’ve ever seen her walking. I’m so pleased she now enjoys walking so much!”

Walking is just one aspect of the 30 Miles Your Way challenge though. If walking is not for you, you can choose to run, cycle, scoot or swim the 30 miles instead. Do it in one go, space it out across the month or go one step further and complete 30 miles each week, just like our nurses do. Whatever you do, we want supporters to enjoy the health benefits of walking (just like Quinn) while also raising money for our fantastic NHS hospitals.

Taking part is free. All we ask in return is that you raise a minimum of £30. Don’t forget to let us know what you’re up to throughout the month by sharing your pictures on social media and tagging us in your posts, or use the hashtag #30MilesYourWay

Register to take on 30 Miles Your Way here.