A dad has thanked his family, friends and son’s school for their support after his wife passed away from breast cancer. Stephanie Edmonds, 44, died in April 2019 leaving behind William, six.
Mark Edmonds (Benji), who lives in Pontnewydd, runs his own tree surgeon business and spoke about how he was managing as a single dad. William is a pupil at Woodlands Community Primary School in Upper Cwmbran.
Steph was treated for breast cancer in 2016
Mark said: “In 2016 she started treatment and after two years, and obviously surgery and her lymph nodes taken away, she came good and got her hair back.
“She got better, finished the treatment and they told us it was gone. That was our understanding.
“So now in 2019, after two years, we were waiting for the reconstruction and she got ill with what we thought was flu and she got over it. We went through Mother’s Day and everything at the end of March. Then she got ill on 5 or 6 April again with what we thought was flu so she battled it for a week or so. Then we went to the doctors who gave her antibiotics. No different.
“Eventually they tried migraine tablets which didn’t work and then we went to the hospital. We had already been there previously and they sent us back to the doctors.
“We went back a second time and she was in there for a week and she just deteriorated. She passed away the day after William’s sixth birthday. He was six on 19 April and she passed on 20 April.
“She sent me out of the hospital to get his birthday present, a bike from Haldords and told me to make sure it was a couple of year’s worth.
“I went and done that, had his party as instructed. I wanted her to be there but she wasn’t well enough. She sent me there and we had the party at his nanny and granch’s in West Nash Village. William slept overnight there and I went back to the Royal Gwent hospital and it was 6am when she passed away.”
Walk a million steps for William
Mark said: “The school are amazing. They are unbelievable up there. Steph always said it was brilliant, she saw them a lot more than me through taking Will to school. I’m seeing it now and I can’t thank them enough.”
William’s school have organised an event on Sunday 30 June at 10am where they have invited the community to ‘walk a million’ steps in memory of Steph. They are aiming for 150 people to walk 6,000 to reach the target.
Anyone is welcome to come along and take part in the gentle 5km walk to Parsons Wood.
Mark said: “It’s all down to the school. They’ve taken it all on themselves to organise this. They held a craft fair where the children sold things they had made.
“The school also held a craft fair. The pupils made different things, like coasters, and sold them.
“We’ve had loads of other donations. A lot of the money will be going to a bank account for William. A lot of it is helping out with me not working as much.
“I’ve got take Will to school, pick him up. I’m a tree surgeon and have limited space- it can be just four hours a day. It feels like I get set up, get in a tree, get a bit of work done and before you know it’s time to go. I’m relying a lot on my brother who works with me.”
Mark’s family have set up GoFundMe page . Click here to donate.
Steph was a talented craft artist
Many people will know Steph from her stall at local fairs where she sold items she handcrafted out of wood from Mark’s business. In December 2018 she spoke about her business at the Sparkles and Pearls Craft Market in the White Hut in Coed Eva.
Steph talking about her handmade items
Mark said: “Her sister bought her a pyrography set and I started to bring her cuts of wood home. All her designs were from her head. She pictured it, drew it out on a bit of paper and then burn it on wood, all freehand. She enjoyed it so much.
“If she did a design she would not send it off until it was perfect. Two or three times people came back after six months and our thing has split and she would take it on herself to pick it up, take it home and if she couldn’t fix it would do another one free of charge. She just loved doing it. The item might have been for £28 but she would still go out and meet them.”
Support from the boxing community
Mark was a talented amateur boxer through is teenage years winning multiple amateur titles. Simon Weaver, his former coach at Torfaen Warriors ABC, organised a collected and raised £800.
Mark and Steph met in 2011
The couple met in the Wheatsheaf pub in Magor
Mark said: “We were living around the corner from each other, a stone’s throw away and never knew of each other. We met in the pub, chatted and went our separate ways. We met again a week later on New Year’s Eve 2011.”
William was born in 2013. Mark said: “He was 5lb 7 1/2 oz and was born four and a half weeks early. I was in the hospital for two hours and he was in my hands.”
The couple married in 2015.
You can take part in the walk on Sunday 30 June at 10am from Woodlands Primary School in Upper Cwmbran. It will be a wonderful event in memory of Steph and bring the community together for her family.