SEEING your child off to school is a happy time for every parent.
But for one brave mum battling terminal cancer, it is extra special as it is a milestone she did not know whether she would live to see.
Rowena Darby, of Wellington Mews, Turton, has spoken of her joy at being able to join her husband Phil to witness their four-year-old son Freddie start at Turton and Edgworth primary school today.
But she also admits there is a sadness knowing she will not be around to see him move up to secondary school.
Mrs Darby, aged 34, said: “This is a big deal for me, of course. When all this started I couldn’t imagine being here when he started school. They couldn’t give me any false hopes I guess.
“I was really excited when Freddie first tried on his uniform but I have purposely not made a big deal out of it because we don’t want to worry him.
“It is brilliant but I just want more now. I want to be there when he goes up to the next level, so it’s also sad in some ways.
“Phil and I went to the parents’ information meeting but it was really hard because they told us what he would be doing throughout his time at the school — which I know I will not be around to see.”
The Bolton News first reported about the former actuary’s inspirational story in August last year when she was making cards and keepsakes for her son’s birthdays up until he turns 21 so he has memories of his mum.
Despite battling with the disease since her diagnosis in 2011, Mrs Darby has remained positive, organising charity events including a family fun run earlier this year at The Barlow in Edgworth to help raise money for Mistletoe Therapy UK — an alternative treatment she has been having.
She said: “I am still having Mistletoe Therapy and I have also just had my chemotherapy changed as the cancer has progressed.
“Thankfully my next round of chemotherapy has fallen in the week after Freddie starts school so both Phil and I can see him off today.
"He won’t make a fuss; he’ll just wander in and say ‘see you later’. He loves Lego and numbers — he takes after me with that — so hopefully he will enjoy maths.
"He knows he is going into Miss Bury’s class and he’s been in for his half day, but because he was at Scallywags pre-school, which is on the same site, it’s not as daunting for him because it’s just like he’s moving up a class.”