Ipswich mum with cancer thanks community for 'once in a lifetime' trip

Simone and Craig Callaghan with their three sons in front of a fountain in Florida

Simone, her husband Craig, and three of her children on their American adventure - Credit: Simone Callaghan

A family holiday full of Disneyland, alligators and days by the pool was a welcome change for an Ipswich mum who got to leave her cancer journey at home for a few days. 

Simone Callaghan was about to turn 30 when she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer that had spread to her liver and kidneys. 

To try to take her mind off the devastating news, her husband started a fundraiser in the hope the family could raise enough to go on a holiday that would be all about making memories.

Simone and husband Craig at Disney World in Florida

Simone and husband Craig at Disney World in Florida - Credit: Simone Callaghan


By March, more than £5,000 had been donated and a trip to Orlando, Florida, was in the calendar for the Easter holidays. 

Speaking to the Ipswich Star after they returned home, Simone said her decision to share some of their holiday photos is to show those who were kind enough to donate that "we were able to get there". 

She said: "It was amazing. It really felt like a once in a lifetime trip. 

"I'm so grateful to have been able to go - anyone who gets to travel to America is so lucky, but I feel extra lucky.

Three of Simone's sons at the hotel in Orlando, Florida

The family holiday was 'amazing', Simone said as she thanked everyone who had donated - Credit: Simone Callaghan

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"Just to be able to spend time with the kids and be a normal mum for a little while. 

"They loved it too, we all had such an amazing time. 

"The holiday feeling didn't last long, though; I was right back into the UK and straight back into the hospital. 

"It's back to appointment after appointment and life as a cancer patient, I suppose."

Simone Callaghan in Orlando, Florida

Simone said it was good just to be away from the routine of hospital appointments - Credit: Simone Callaghan

The mum-of-five's outlook is still "unknown" but having had six rounds of chemotherapy since her diagnosis, she's hoping to very soon find out whether the treatment is having an effect on her cancer. 

But having had a taste of travel, Simone is keen to do as much as she can. 

She said: "I do want to travel more. It feels a bit like I'm on a timer and I want to do as much and see as much and experience as much as I can, while I can. 

"But I don't even know how to thank people for what they've given me and my family. 

"Thanks to the paper and the generous community I got my dream."

Simone with Minnie Mouse ears in Florida

Simone was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer a few months ago - Credit: Simone Callaghan