Katie Southgate is the founder of Happy BobKat studios. She designs and sells prints with life affirming messages for children which she launched this year.
Mother of two children Dexter (7) and Hattie (4), Katie has become what’s called an ‘Oncology Mum’ since the diagnosis of Hattie, then 1, with a rare blood cancer. In 2014 Hattie became unwell with an ear infection, then a little more unwell with a chest infection, then sleepy and pale. 3 months before her second birthday, she was slowly filling up with Leukaemia. It took 2 full years of chemo treatment at Great Ormond Street to rid Hattie of the cancer. Katie and her family live with the reality that it could come back at any day.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and special limited edition prints will be available throughout September from http://www.happybobkatstudios.co.uk to raise money for Hattie’s Heroes, the charity that was set up in Hattie’s name during her treatment.
This is a letter to Hattie from her mum, to read when she is 18.
A Letter To My Daughter, Hattie in 2031, aged 18
I write with the pure hope that this letter reaches you at age 18, healthy and lively, but with the full knowledge that this could easily be taken away. So I write every word with “hope” sandwiched in-between each letter.
You won’t know how brave you were. Or how damn hard you fought for your life. Or of the many little friends that passed away around you. What I can guarantee you will know though, is how loved you are. You seemed so small when they told me your body was filled with cancerous blood cells. Doctors told me it was in every organ in your body, yet at times in those early days of diagnosis, it was hard to believe, such as those days when you were screeching ‘DUCK’ at the top of your lungs for a plastic toy that was in fact a chicken!
Since that day, when I pressed Start on your first of thousands of doses of chemo, fear has filled me. I want to tell you something about fear. Living with an enormous level of fear can have two outcomes. It can cripple you, it can make you hide, run and bury your true self. Or, my darling daughter, it can enable you to become more you than you’ve ever felt. It can wash away grey areas and make things feel so clear. The answers become yes or no. The tasks and trials you face are more easily and lovingly overcome. The sun can shine more brightly, because of the fear inside of you.
In times of true and painful fear I find it can be just a small sentence that can change the outcome of how you begin to cope. I just hope I have equipped you with those words, those phrases. I hope that when something big comes along, and at some point it will, you can stand in the face of whatever it might be and feel the power swell inside you. Because my mighty little girl, you were born ready to fight. You are so fiercely tough. All I hope for you is your health, because the rest I know you will excel at – regardless of what path you take, what decisions and roads you wind down as you grow up – you have a greatness in your tiny body that is entirely extraordinary.
I am proud to be your mother.
Lovingly, yours forever.
Limited edition prints will be available throughout September to raise money for Hattie’s Heroes. The story behind these special prints is based on the quote “Even the tallest oak in the forest was once a little nut that stood its ground”. This quote is perfect for Childhood Cancer patients, they really do have to stand tough against the odds. Happy BobKat Studios has collected beautiful illustrations of acorns from incredible artists who have all exclusively donated their designs for Hattie’s Heroes.
For sale from 1st – 30th September. Come and take a look: www.happybobkatstudios.co.uk
Right now I’m listening to: Milo Greene
Pass it on:
Sarah Barlow: @wealdhandmade (mumma to two young kids and perfect bag designer/maker – Weald Hand Made)
Linda Tait: @lindahamrintait (mumma to four lovely kids and OtherLetters co-founder)
Mollie Bond: @bunched.flowers.rectorygrove (mumma to gorgeous toddler and owner of Bunched, the most beautiful flower shop)