A mother has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer just a year after her three-year-old was struck down by a brain tumour.
Debbie Asprey and partner Gareth Walsh were devastated when doctors discovered their daughter had a tumour at 21-months.
Now three, Darcyana spent weeks being treated for the life-threatening condition at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Less than a year later, the family faced another devastating diagnosis when Ms Asprey, 28, was told she had secondary breast cancer which had already spread to her bones.
Debbie Asprey was told she has incurable breast cancer a year after daughter Darcyana was diagnosed with a brain tumour
‘I was in so much shock, the first thing I said was that I wanted to go home and watch Emmerdale with Darcyana,’ she said.
‘All I kept thinking was that I had my little girl to look after.
‘I couldn’t let the disease define me, I wasn’t going to let it affect me in the way that it wanted to.
‘Once I got home and it began to sink in, I thought how can lightning strike twice?’
The 28-year-old, from Eston, near Middlesbrough, has now finished six rounds of chemotherapy while Darcyana is is due to have her last round next week.
The brave tot has bounced back from her illness with her family told it had shrank when results came back a few months ago.
Although Ms Asprey’s breast cancer can’t be cured, she is hopeful that it can be kept under control with regular treatment.
Darcyana, now three, has responded well to treatment with doctors pleased when scans showed the tumour had shrank
Gareth Walsh, pictured with his partner and daughter, said he was proud of the courage shown by both of his loved ones
She said: ‘I’m stable at the moment, but for how long, we don’t know.’
‘I don’t have time to be poorly. Every bit of energy I have goes on Darcyana.
‘I already know everything there is to know about cancer because of what she has been through, so I think that has softened the blow for me.
‘I watch the children who are so ill in hospital and think, how can I sit and moan while they are just smiling?
‘I don’t know how but you manage to find a way to power through. Darcyana and I are walking hand in hand together to fight it.’
Mr Walsh said he was proud of both of them for the courage they have shown.
‘I am so proud of them both for being so strong, the way they have got on with it.
‘It’s difficult watching them at their worst but on a good day, it makes up for it.’