Mummy is star in the night sky

editorial image

PERFECT mum Samantha Danson has grown pink fairy wings and flown away to live on the brightest star in the sky, from where she blows her goodnight kisses all over Milton Keynes.

And that, according to six-year-old Hailie-Jade Danson, is the absolute truth.

She knows it is because her mum sat her on her knee and told her so almost three years ago, when doctors first found something poorly in her tummy.

In fact the ‘something poorly’ was an ovarian tumour, a stage four ovarian cancer so advanced that doctors gave the 35-year-old single mum just three months to live.

Last month, 32 months after this diagnosis, Samantha lost her battle to defy this prediction. Typically, rather than be bitter about dying, she felt incredibly lucky to have achieved all that precious extra time with her daughter.

And, though she never lost faith that her cancer could be miraculously cured, nobody could have prepared more thoroughly for helping a small girl adjust to life without her mother.

As Sam told the Citizen in December 2008: “After the diagnosis I spent a couple of days feeling angry, terrified and broken-hearted. Then I realised this would not help care for a motherless child so I painted on a smile and hugged my daughter to me for a chat.”

First Sam told Hailie the story that one day she would grow fairy wings and fly away.

“I told her I would be there in her thoughts, there in her head and I would always be there in her heart. And if ever she needed to see me, I told her to look out of the window at the brightest star in the sky and that would be mummy,” she revealed to the Citizen at the time.

Next Sam chose the person who would look after her daughter after her death. She picked her own father, 64-year-old Peter Danson who lives near her home in Bletchley.

“He made me the person I am today and I know he will instil the same values and give the same love to Hailie-Jade,” she said.

Finally Sam concentrated on a memory box, vowing to cram in a lifetime of memories for her daughter.

But it was not until after her death that Sam’s heartbroken family realised just what a good job she had done.

“She thought of absolutely everything,” said her mum Cath Aldridge.

“When we looked there were birthday cards, beautifully written out, for all Hailie’s future birthdays.

“There was an 18th birthday present, a 21st birthday present and a 30th birthday present.”

Sam also wrote a letter to her family, which includes sister Stacey, brother-in-law Mark, and Cath’s husband Dave, saying she wanted photographs of them all in her coffin, together with pictures drawn by Hailie-Jade.

The family is now pulling together to help Peter care for the little girl, who so far is coping well, says Cath.

“On the day we told her Sam had passed away, she looked out of the window as Stacey was putting her to bed – and there was the brightest star imaginable.

“She said ‘that’s my mummy’ and she blew a kiss to it. I swear the star twinkled, just like it was blowing a kiss back.”

The family is carrying our Samantha’s wishes to have her story printed to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

“Even as she was dying, she thought of others. She was a tremendous daughter, mother and sister and the whole family is so proud of her, said Cath.

“It was a privilege to be her parent.”


IF you experience any of the symptoms listed below on most days you should contact your GP to rule out ovarian cancer.

>Persistent pelvic and stomach pain

> Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating rather than bloating that comes and goes

> Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly