Portsmouth schoolboy shares mum’s cancer story on fundraising Mother’s Day card by Hallmark on sale in Tesco

A young boy from Portsmouth is helping raise crucial funds for cancer research by appearing on a special Mother’s Day card that is on sale across the country.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 7:00 am
From left, Natalie Pantry, left, and her sister Nicola Maddern; The back of the card featuring Joseph Maddern’s story; the Maddern family

Joseph Maddern’s mum Nicola underwent life changing surgery following her diagnosis with cervical cancer, which came after she attended a smear test in 2017.

Now, her seven-year-old son Joseph and his younger brother Jack are helping support a cancer charity by sharing their story.

A photograph of Joseph, along with Nicola and five year old Jack, appears on the back of a Mother’s Day card on sale in all large Tesco stores.

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The card featuring Joseph Maddern’s memories about his mum being in hospital

The family’s card features a dinosaur pattern, designed by Hallmark, and is one of several designs raising funds for Cancer Research UK.

The cards are priced from £1, and are on sale until March 14.

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Hoping to connect with other families affected by the disease, Joseph has also shared his memories about his mum’s experience with cancer in a caption underneath the family photograph.

Nicola with sons Joseph and five-year-old Jack

This reads: ‘I took part in the Race for Life for my mum. She was very poorly a few years ago and we had to have lots of visits to hospital but she’s better now.

‘I want to help raise money for research so that other people don’t have to go through the same thing as my mum.’

Nicola, 37, is married to Richard and works as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities.

A bad experience during a smear test at the age of 21 left her frightened, and she avoided having another smear appointment for 13 years.

Sisters Natalie Pantry, left, and Nicola Maddern

However, when her sister Natalie Pantry, now 36, from Waterlooville, began experiencing symptoms she feared could be cancer, Nicole was convinced to take the test herself.

Nicola said: ‘Being told I had cancer was such a big shock because, unlike my sister, I didn’t have symptoms.

‘My only thought was to make a commitment to do whatever it took so I could be here with my two boys and watch them grow up.’

The card featuring Joseph's words

Nicola underwent a radical hysterectomy with surrounding lymph nodes also removed, and was plunged into early menopause. She is now cancer-free.

Having taken part in a Cancer Research UK-funded clinical trial following her diagnosis, as well as several Race for Life events in Southsea, Nicola knows how important research is in the fight against cancer.

Nicola said: “I feel research is so important to tackling this disease and to stop people going through what I have.

“By doing this and taking part in Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research UK I feel like I am helping other people.”

Cancer Research UK is predicting a £300m drop in income over the next three years as a result of Covid-19, a funding loss which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk.

Jenny Makin, the charity’s spokesperson for Hampshire, said: ‘The truth is, Covid-19 has slowed us down. But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.

‘We are incredibly grateful to Joseph and Tesco for their support.’