I Don't Fear Death. but It's So Unfair for My Daughter; COURAGE OF SPORTS PRESENTER LIVING ON BORROWED TIME

Article excerpt


SPORTS journalist Helen Rollason, staging a courageous fight against cancer, has spoken movingly of the emotional impact she fears her death will have on her 14-year-old daughter.

Miss Rollason, 42, first woman presenter of BBC's Grandstand, was told in March she had six months to live after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the liver and colon.

Since then, she has endured 27 sessions of chemotherapy and lost her hair twice, but still remains optimistic.

'I don't fear death - I fear the carnage I'll leave behind in the sense of an emotionally-stunned child,' she says in an interview in this week's Radio Times, out today.

'Nothing could prepare Nikki for something so awful. It seems desperately unfair to have a mum you've been incredibly close to, and suddenly you haven't got her.' Miss Rollason, who was back on TV reading the sports roundup at the weekend, goes on: 'We discuss exactly what's happening. We're not morbid, just very matter-of-fact and realistic. Nikki says, "Don't talk like that. You're not going anywhere".

'You shouldn't say it about your own daughter, but I'm proud of her. It's sad she's had this responsibility, but thankfully I've rarely been poorly at home.

'She talks only about the past and present, not the future. She takes her GCSEs next year and I wish with all my heart I can see her through. I don't dare think beyond that.' Miss Rollason explains how she has tried to remain positive throughout her ordeal, saying: 'OK, I'm terminally ill and probably won't make it, but I'm going to enjoy every second I have left. I love life and have no intention of leaving without a very good fight.

'I'm 42, love being this age and have a very nice life, except when the needles go in. My veins are so knackered it takes several attempts to get any blood out of me.' However, she reveals there are times when she has found the illness very difficult to cope with.

Recently she felt so sick she curled up on her sofa and cried. 'I thought, "Oh God, I've had enough''. Images come into your mind of beyond your death and you wish they didn't. …