This Christmas, the Poulton family will be remembering Christine Poulton – a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.  Christine had CREST Syndrome, and these words are from her daughter, Tracey

"This will be our first Christmas without my mum.  Our hearts are heavy knowing mum won’t be here, she adored her family, and it will be so different for us all. 

How do you celebrate Christmas when the person who created all the magic isn’t here anymore?  Mum was Christmas crazy – Christmas ornaments covered every space in the house, full stockings for every grandchild and music blaring everywhere, she even had two trees.  But this year there will be no magic – there’s just no mum. 

My mum had been experiencing health problems for 18 months.  Her feet turned black, she had swollen hands and she couldn’t eat or drink properly.  She lost so much weight and suffered malnutrition and dehydration - it was heart-breaking for us to see.  The doctors thought it was mum’s arthritis, but she didn’t improve, and we were helpless.  Eventually, after three weeks in hospital she was diagnosed with CREST Syndrome.

Receiving mum’s diagnosis and knowing she wouldn’t ever get better was devastating and three months later my beloved mum passed away - aged only 64.  My dad lost his best friend and wife, we lost our mother, and her grandchildren lost a loving nan.

Words can’t describe the emptiness and loss we carry around as a family or the anger we feel that her condition could have been picked up sooner. 

As a family we are determined to raise awareness and help other families – we don’t want other families to suffer needlessly or receive a diagnosis when it’s too late like mum."