TERMINAL cancer sufferer Mandy Short enjoyed the “perfect” holiday with her beloved children - thanks to the kindheartedness of an inspirational charity founder.
Mandy, 40, has vowed to never stop smiling despite a devastating cancer diagnosis from medics who told her she has just months to live.
And nobody was going to wipe that smile off Mandy’s face as she enjoyed a “fantastic” five-day stay at Center Parcs with her children and other family members.
The trip was made possible thanks to Ian Richardson, 40, who read about Mandy’s “devastating” story in the Mail and set about creating some more memories for her and her children.
Ian lost his wife, Joanne, 40, and his eldest daughter, Mya, six, when the car the family were travelling in was hit on the A1 in Newcastle by another vehicle travelling in the wrong direction.
Ian and his other daughter, Ava, who turns three today, survived the smash and the inspirational dad went on to set up the Jo and Mya Memorial Fund to help children who have lost loved ones.
Mandy, a mum of Christie Short, 16, Billy Short, 14, and eight-year-old Polly Scaife, was “amazed” when Ian got in touch with her on Facebook and explained he would like to use money from the fund to send the family on a holiday - and Mandy and the children enjoyed every second of it.
“It was great from start to finish,” said Mandy whose maiden name was Emmerson, and who was born and brought up in Torquay Avenue, in Hartlepool, and now lives in Wolvison Court, Billingham.
“The sun was shining, we all had fun, it was absolutely brilliant.
“I managed to do everything I wanted with the children and it’s something fantastic for the children to look back on.”
Ian, who also lives in Billingham, said he was proud to have been able to help Mandy and her family in any possible way.
He told the Mail: “When I read Mandy’s story it cut right through me, you never want to think anyone is in this situation but the reality is there is.
“I wanted to help out, it was about creating some fantastic memories for them and just to help the family enjoy every bit of time they’ve got left together.
“Mandy’s attitude is amazing, she’s an inspiration and the support she is getting is brilliant, it’s nice to have been part of that.”
Mandy, a former student at Brierton Community School and hairdresser at various salons in Hartlepool, successfully battled breast cancer six years ago and was intent on beating the disease again when she was diagnosed with liver, lung and bone cancer in February, last year.
But in March, Mandy was told the cancer had spread to her brain and with treatment was given a maximum of just six months to live.
Despite the heartbreak, Mandy told the Mail at the time: “I feel like in my 40 years, I have lived 80.
“I have always been happy, smiling and confident - but more importantly for me I know the kids are happy.”