A CANCER-stricken mother-of-five who faced bankruptcy and homelessness in the wake of her partner’s suicide has been told she has less than six months to live.
Justine Hargreaves was told her home would be repossessed while she was battling cervical cancer in April 2008 and trying to rebuild her life after partner Stuart Davis died.
Justine found Stuart, 36, hanging from a belt at their then home in Seathwaite Way, Huncoat, while he was suspected to be suffering from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression.
Mr Davis, who was a self-employed cabinet-maker and a special constable in Manchester, had cancelled all the family’s direct debit payments at Christmas 2005, including all their life insurance policies and loan repayments.
He kept the fact hidden and it was only after his death in November 2006 when the debts came to light, when it was too late to sort out the debt.
But, after the Observer publicised her plight, she was offered help from social landlord, Hyndburn Homes and was given a new home in Chester Street, Accrington for her and her children Jade, 16, Sam, eight, Nathaniel, seven and five-year-old twins Coral and Crystal.
Following the move, life looked to be getting better as news regarding her cancer seemed positive, until recently when she was told the cancer had spread to her bones and glands.
This week, Justine was bravely trying to come to terms with the devastating news of her terminal illness.
She said: "I am absolutely devastated. I am desperately trying to plan things for my children’s future that I will never experience, it’s heartbreaking. The children are so young, it’s not fair they should now lose their mum as well as their dad.
"When Stuart died, I promised the boys that I would never leave them and that is exactly what I’m doing. I can’t believe I am letting them down like this.
"They have been through so much and in their naivety they just don’t understand. The twins will come up to me daily and say ‘Mummy are you dying?’
"The only way I can keep strong now is to do my best to make them financially secure ,which is extremely hard with everything that has happened in the last couple of years."
She added: "Normally, I would have tried to keep these last few months private, but for the my children’s sake I can’t. I am going to focus on making their futures great and make memories that will stay with them forever."
Six weeks after Stuart’s death the family was hit by another tragedy when Justine’s 73-year-old father lost his fight against bowel cancer. Justine is now hoping a family member will be able to take in the children when she dies.