Little Canfield mother shares heartbreaking story in hope of raising awareness for children’s charity

Linda Newberry and her son Kevin, who died from a brain tumour in 1993. Picture: Rainbow Trust Child

Linda Newberry and her son Kevin, who died from a brain tumour in 1993. Picture: Rainbow Trust Children's Charity - Credit: Archant

A mother from Great Canfield is raising awareness about a children’s charity after it helped support her dying son.

Linda Newberry, 65, has become a volunteer ambassador for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, 24 years after her 13-year-old son, Kevin, died from a cancerous brain tumour.

A single mother of four at the time, Linda was desperate when Kevin was diagnosed with medulloblastoma – a condition which saw him undergo two operations as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

“He was an amazing little boy but it came back all over his brain,” she said.

“He wanted to die at home. He became so unwell. I did not have anyone else to help me and I was frightened to bring him home.”

Ruth, a Rainbow Trust family support worker, helped Linda with her other children and Kevin when he moved back from the hospice, and continued to support the family for three years after Kevin’s death in 1993.

“Kevin was bedridden, blind and very weak, but when he knew he was coming home he woke up and shouted ‘I’m going home tomorrow’. He was so excited that he could go home and once he got home he slept really well,” Linda added.

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“Ruth was a playmate for Kevin’s siblings, a shoulder to cry on for me and someone to talk to.

“Ruth stayed with me until the end and that was remarkable. Kevin died at home with his brother and sisters and me. The end is very important as you can’t go back and do it again and he was with who he wanted to be with and at home where he wanted to be.”

Now keen to give something back, Linda is hoping to spread awareness about the charity in her new role.

Andrea Kelley, volunteer manager at Rainbow Trust, said: “Linda’s decision to become a volunteer ambassador and help Rainbow Trust more than two decades after Kevin died is testament to the dedication and commitment of the family support workers.

“Volunteer ambassadors enable us to reach out to more communities and raise awareness of our work, which enables us to help more families in the way we once helped Linda’s.”