‘The downside is leaving my daughter’

Helen Legh and daughter Matilda
Helen Legh and daughter Matilda

Even though BBC 3CR presenter Helen Legh has terminal brain cancer, she considers herself lucky.

“I don’t have any pain,” she explains, curled up on a leather settee in her comfortable Bletchley home. “I’m in a good place, much as I know this is going to kill me. We’re all going to die – even if I might not be around as long as I’d hoped. And I’m lucky being able to prepare for my own death.”

Then that comforting voice that listeners have come to know and love on the Sunday Breakfast Show quivers. “The only down side is leaving my daughter Matilda, husband Paul and mum and dad,” she says, eyes welling.

Matilda is the much-wanted child she and Paul had five years ago after three gruelling rounds of IVF. She was born 15 weeks premature and the couple were warned she might not survive.

Helen says: “After all she’s been through, it’s hard. She means everything to me.

“We’ve explained that ‘mummy has a big germ in her head’ and she knows I get tired. But she doesn’t know I’m going to die.”

Her voice wobbles again: “I just find it difficult to believe this is really happening. I guess I’m in denial a bit.”

She was diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme 4 last year and was given just 14 months to live. She had a seven hour operation to remove the tumour, followed by radiation and chemotherapy, and is currently taking part in a clinical trial.

Helen admits she doesn’t have the comfort of faith but has joined an Alpha course to try to get some answers. “Is there anything other than this life?” she ponders. “Maybe we are just energy. But when I die I want to be able to say to Matilda that I’m going to heaven.”

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