A single mom fighting an exhausting battle against cancer was photographed by her 5-year old son as she lay asleep in a pile of Lego blocks.
“My son took the picture,” said Laura Corrigan, as reported by the Mirror.
“It was complete exhaustion. That was when I was having radiotherapy and chemotherapy,” she said.
Corrigan said she was playing with her son Max shortly before the photo was taken. She later added the caption explaining that her drowsiness was caused by medication and posted the photo on her Instagram page–Cancer, Milk & Rainbows–where she documents her ongoing fight against the disease.
Corrigan is undergoing chemotherapy for bowel cancer, which has spread to her lungs. She is also raising two young boys–Max and 19-month-old Finn–all by herself.
It was reported that the 36-year-old from Durham was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year after complaining of painful bowel movements and discovering blood in her stool.
Bowel cancer afflicts over 41,000 people per year in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK, and of those that get the disease nearly 16,000 die.
“Letting people know there is information and support out there is so important as having cancer can feel very isolating,” Corrigan said, the Sun reported.
“You are often surrounded by people but no one really understands unless they have been there,” she said.
As she presses forward with intensive chemotherapy in hopes of becoming one of the 57 percentwho statistically survive the disease, Corrigan also contends with the pressures of parenthood.
“[My youngest] charges about from 5 a.m., it’s exhausting,” she told Mirror Online. “I occasionally fall asleep on the sofa … when I stop, I fall asleep.
She has taken her struggle public on social media, as Macmillan Cancer Support research shows this can boost self-esteem. According to the charity, more than 370,000 women battling or recovering from cancer are using such technologies for support.
“I have an Instagram page and blog I write when I can, and have connected with other people a lot that way, as well as in Facebook support groups,” Corrigan said, MirrorOnline reported.
“It has helped me, both writing thoughts and feelings down and connecting with others,” she said.
Thanks to her blog, Corrigan became friends with a woman diagnosed with the same disease that she is fighting.
“It’s really nice,” she said. “We have become good friends and we support each other.”
Corrigan said that messages of support posted on social media can help those going through a rough patch.
“I’m always amazed at the power of online communities,” she said. “It takes a few seconds to write a comment but the support that gives can make a huge difference to someone’s day.”
According to Cancer Research UK, more than half of the cases of bowel cancer are preventable.
Maintaining a healthy diet, including reduced intake of red and processed meat, and staying active can reduce the risk of the disease.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, after breast, prostate, and lung.
Feb. 4 is World Cancer Day.