A heartbroken mother has revealed she would not be able to afford to bury her terminally ill son as she struggles to make ends meet because of the cost of living crisis. Donna Brady, 38, from Camden in north London said she she is “terrified” she will not be able to give her beloved son Romeo, 4, the send off he deserves as rising costs leave her struggling to get by.
Romeo has a serious heart condition and has defied the odds after doctors told Ms Brady he would not live to see his first birthday when she was pregnant.
She told My London: “I was told to prepare for the worst when I was pregnant, so while everyone else was shopping for prams, I was shopping for coffins.
“I’m overjoyed I got many more years with him. But I’m living on my nerves and my anxiety 24 hours a day, because I don’t know if I’m going to wake up and my baby’s gone and how I’m going to cope when he passes. I can see the change in him now and I know the time is coming soon.
“But a coffin is unbelievably expensive and all of the other funeral costs. That terrifies me, to be honest. And if he passes away tomorrow I wouldn’t want him sitting in a freezer while I scrape together to try and bury him. I just would want him to lay him to rest straight away.”
Romeo requires 24-hour round-the-clock care as he suffers from Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) which means oxygen-rich blood does not return from the lungs to the left atrium. Instead, the oxygen-rich blood returns to the right side of the heart which means oxygen-rich blood mixes with oxygen-poor blood.
He also has dextrocardia, which means his heart is on the right side of his chest instead of the left.
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She also told how the cost of travelling to and from hospital appointments has risen as she uses taxis and Ubers to avoid travelling on public transport following the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Brady added: “He’s never going to finish school or go to college or meet someone and fall in love and go on holidays and have a job and all of that. So that’s why it is really difficult for me to say no to him.
“Because of his condition I want to give him everything to make life as easy as possible and to create amazing memories but these are truly worrying times.”
Ms Brady would be entitled to help from The Children’s Funeral Fund for England, which can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a child under 18.
But the 38-year-old said she would still struggle to get enough together to then claim some of it back.
She also receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA) because she is a full-time carer for Romeo, and therefore unable to work.
The mother and son are also supported by the charity The Rainbow Trust, which she describes as a “godsend”.