Rachael Bland, a BBC radio journalist, has died of breast cancer several days after she announced on social media that her death was near. She was 40.
Bland's family said that she died early Wednesday.
Her husband and 2-year-old son said on Twitter that "we are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support. You'll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie xxx."
Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family. We are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support. You’ll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie xxx pic.twitter.com/soq7YHvF9u
In a heart-wrenching interview last month, Bland revealed she decided not to find out how long she had left to live, instead ‘guesstimating’ that it was less than a year.
The newsreader declared she was ‘not scared of dying’ but was worried about leaving Freddie and Steve behind. ‘I have to suppress a lot of the darkest thoughts about Freddie growing up without his mummy around,’ she said.
She wrote in her blog how she was with her son and his friends at a farm in May when she was given the devastating news about her prognosis.
But on Monday night she quoted Frank Sinatra in an emotional post on Twitter and Instagram in which she wrote: ‘In the words of the legendary Frank S, I’m afraid the time has come my friends. And suddenly. I’m told I’ve only got days. It’s very surreal.’ Her shock message prompted an outpouring of love and sympathy from thousands of well-wishers including dozens of colleagues.
In the words of the legendary Frank S - I’m afraid the time has come my friends. And suddenly. I’m told I’ve only got days. It’s very surreal. Thank you so much for all the support I’ve received. Debs and lozz will continue with the #youmebigc podcast. Au revoir my friends. 💋💋 pic.twitter.com/DhMurbqMJz
RACHAEL 1, CHEMO NIL – EXTRACTS FROM A MOTHER’S SEARINGLY HONEST DIARY
December 12, 2016
After three hours of tests and consultations and an anxious 20 minutes in the ‘private waiting room’ (you know it’s not good when they take you to your own waiting room), the young doctor tasked with delivering the news had her very best “sorry you have cancer” face on. She kept pausing, waiting for me to cry at the opportune moments. I just sat there thinking, ‘I wish they’d wrap this up so I can get home, put the baby to bed and watch I’m a Celebrity’.
January 6, 2017
Just like a trip to the dentist, it turns out the anticipation of chemo is worse (for me anyway) than the reality. I kept busy in the morning going to get my hair cut ready for the cold cap (to try and preserve my hair) then rushed off to hospital. I feel like I’ve escaped so far relatively unscathed. Rachael 1, Chemo nil.’
March 11, 2017
As exhausting as it can be having chemo and looking after a toddler, getting his daily dose of energy, joy and positivity is the best medicine. Every time he bestows a snotty kiss or gives me a tight hug around the neck to say good night and late at night when I creep back into his room to watch him sleep I feel stronger than ever. I will get through this for you Freddie.
March 27, 2017
The thing I want most in the world right now… it’s not money, diamonds or gold. It’s a blow dry… I dream of those days sitting in the hairdresser’s chair with the dryer on the ‘heat of hell’ setting.
June 23, 2017
I do not want to know about statistics and prognosis. I cannot let myself sink into the well of ‘what ifs’.
July 20, 2017
I was sent for an ultrasound to have biopsies taken. I love a game of ‘guess the results from the medic’s demeanour’… my breast-care nurse hugged me on the way in and the surgeon had on her ‘bad news head-tilt’. Bugger. It will undoubtedly be most odd saying goodbye to my right boob tomorrow. But if that’s what needs to go for me to be able to stick around and see my Fred off to university one day then I will gladly give it up to the cause.’
May 20, 2018
I was at the ice cream farm with Freddie and some of his little pals. My heart raced as I answered the phone. Then came the words ‘I am so sorry, it’s bad news. The biopsies have come back showing the same cancer is back and is in the skin’. I watched my little Freddie innocently playing away in a tyre in the barn and my heart broke for him. I scooped him up and dashed home and then had to break Steve’s heart with the news that my cancer was incurable.
September 3, 2018
In the words of the legendary Frank S – I’m afraid the time has come my friends. And suddenly. I’m told I’ve only got days. It’s very surreal. Thank you so much for all the support I’ve received. Au revoir my friends.
Bland had commented extensively about her illness on her "You, Me and the Big C" podcast. She had been diagnosed nearly two years ago.