The West

Mum s goodbye to perfect boy
Blake Dingsdale, lost his seemingly endless battle with cancer.

The day after little Blake Dingsdale lost his seemingly endless battle with cancer, his heartbroken mother delivered the news to the hundreds of friends and countless strangers who had followed his journey.

In an open letter to her seven-year-old, with whom she had held hands as he took his last breath, Francine Leach told him how loved he was and thanked him for being her "perfect little boy".

What followed was something she could never have imagined - a ripple effect that saw hundreds share her story, and a tear, on social media.

Ms Leach said that it was this outpouring that helped her deal with the loss of her child.

"It helps me and it makes me happy to know he touched so many people," she said yesterday.

"He impacted people enough that they had to stop and write something, they had to stop and shed a tear, they had to stop and think about him."

Blake plays with Cooper the story bear while Fancine reads Christian. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

Blake was diagnosed with a brain tumour at age three and spent more than half his life battling cancer.

Much of his journey was documented by Ms Leach on the Wishes for Blake Facebook page, which built up a following of more than 3200 people.

Blake spent about eight months in remission but was thrown back into a routine of hospital visits and treatments in 2012 when doctors discovered tumours on his spine.

Earlier this year, Ms Leach was told the fight had become unwinnable and she only had a few months left with her son.

Mum and her perfect boy

She set out to make what time he had left as enjoyable as possible and was given a helping hand from people who had never met Blake but had come to adore him through her words. He was taken on a helicopter ride, spent some time with West Coast Eagles players and realised his dream of seeing snow, thanks to a snowmaking company.

The kind words and gestures not only put a smile on Blake's face, they also carried Ms Leach through the most difficult period of her life.

"You have helped us through a very rough journey, and without your ongoing support I don't think I'd be where I am now," she wrote on Monday.

"So thank you, each and every one of you."

Blake went on his last holiday to a farm a month ago, where he fed animals, roasted marshmallows and spent time with family.

He endured pain and fatigue in the weeks before he died but still took pleasure in the simple things such as colouring in and spending time with his brother Christian. He died on Thursday last week with his mum by his side after the tumour in his brain started bleeding.

Ms Leach said while she missed her son dearly, she took comfort in the fact he was now free of pain. A public service will be held for Blake in Wannanup on Thursday.


My dearest Blake,

Thank you. For choosing me to be your mum. For loving me so fi ercely and freely. For never trying to be anything other than you. Because it’s you that I love. More than words. More than the air I breathe.

I’m sorry the last four years have been so incredibly hard. I’m sorry they’ve been scary at times and uncomfortable more often than not. I often wonder what you would be like if this never happened. Would you say the funny things you say? Would you be as charismatic as you are? Would you be so affectionate? Even down to what you would look like.

I know I can’t live my life wonder what if, what if, what if. But sometimes I just can’t help it.

I want you to know something.

You were loved. More deeply, and passionately that anyone could ever possibly fathom. You were my precious, perfect, darling boy. And you will not be forgotten. Never will a day pass that I don’t think about you. That I don’t feel the need to touch you, to hold you, to kiss your face, to feel your hands in mine.

I love you. It doesn’t really cut it, does it. What I feel for you is so much more than love.

I’m so thankful for you. You have taught me so much. From the little to the big things. I will never take time for granted ever again. The days are too precious to squander, the nights are too serene to waste.

I love you. I love you. I love you. Beyond forever. You are the best.

Sleep easy my darling heart.

Love mum xxxxxxxxx

The West Australian

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