A Manawatu mother’s cries for help to breastfeed her baby after a cancer diagnosis have been answered by a group of milksharing mothers.
Laura Roberts, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June, has received help from the Milksharing Manawatu mothers, who have donated breast milk to help feed 12-week-old Lucy while her mum has chemotherapy.
Roberts breastfed Lucy until last week, when it was discovered the cancer had spread to her liver and required aggressive chemotherapy as soon as possible.
Roberts, who discovered the group through friend Reganne Denton-Giles, said she was overwhelmed by the support she had received.
“I am just so grateful to these women that I haven’t actually met before. It just means a lot to have the liquid gold rather than have the formula because it’s so much better for her,” she said.
“We had a freezer full of milk in two days, it’s amazing. It’s so precious that they’re giving it up for me because I know how hard it is.”
Laura’s mother, Joanna Taylor, who has been helping take care of Lucy and Roberts’ other daughter, 22-month-old Charlotte, said after the call for help she picked up two big chilly bins with 100-plus bags of milk within days.
“Laura just feels love from people she doesn’t even know, it’s just quite remarkable.”
Taylor said finding out about the cancer when Laura was 33 weeks pregnant had been very difficult for the family.
“It’s the hardest thing any of us have been through. I can’t imagine what it’s like for her, we know what it’s like just supporting her and it’s horrendous, to be frank,” she said.
The idea behind milksharing was that everyone could breastfeed regardless of whether the milk was from the mother or another woman, said Rachel Hansen, co-ordinator of Milksharing Manawatu, which is this week celebrating World Milksharing Week.
With about 70 women in the group on Facebook there were always posts where mothers needed milk or had some to give.
CAPTION: The Right Stuff: Laura Roberts and husband Scott have been overwhelmed with the help of Milksharing Manawatu mothers who have donated breast milk for 12-week-old Lucy after Laura was diagnosed with cancer.