Heartbreaking letters Victoria Derbyshire wrote to sons before cancer operation

In joining the cast of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Victoria Derbyshire admitted her battle with cancer inspired her to say "yes" to taking part in the show.

Hoping to make her sons proud in heading to Gwrych Castle in North Wales, the BBC broadcaster, 52, said: "Because of cancer, I know more than lots of people, life is short. I am now saying ‘yes' to stuff I wouldn't have done previously."

Victoria's inspirational attitude to life comes after fearing she wouldn't survive her health battle, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.

At one point, the award-winning journalist even wrote two letters for her sons Ollie, 16, and Joe, 13, concerned she wouldn't wake up from an impending operation.

The journalist has been open about her experience of breast cancer in the past, even publishing a diary which detailed everything from her diagnosis, to her mastectomy, to the moment doctors confirmed her treatment had come to an end.

Titled "Dear Cancer, Love Victoria: A Mum's Diary of Hope," Victoria published the book in 2017.

In the memoir, she described what she wrote in each letter, telling her husband Mark Sandell she would leave the notes behind in her bedside drawer.

"Should anything happen to me," she explained, she wanted her partner to pass the letters on to her sons.

In her letter to her eldest son Ollie, she said: "As our firstborn son, he changed the lives of mark and me completely".

Victoria then recalled "holding him in my arms," the moment he was born, adding that she "could not believe it was possible to love another human being as much as I loved him".

The mum-of-two then imparted some of her wisdom, urging her son to "love life" and to appreciate the family around him.

She recalled: "I ask him to take my determination forward in his own life; tell him to love life, love the people around him, his wonderful brother, his amazing sis, his magnificent dad. And his cousins, aunties, uncles, godparents, and our super special family friends."

In the letter to her youngest son Joe, Victoria told him about his delivery in 2006, recounting the story because "he never tires of hearing about it".

She continued: "I remind him what a compassionate, warm-hearted, sensitive, clever boy he is, and how he's always to keep that kindness because it makes other people feel very special."

After writing the letters, Victoria admitted to "silently weeping" before sealing them and putting them in her drawer.

The following morning, she underwent a mastectomy in Ashford Hospital, Stanwell, with her husband Mark waiting outside the theatre.

Thankfully, the operation went to plan, and Victoria regained consciousness and was able to hug her beloved husband and sons again.

Throughout her treatment, Victoria documented the experience, raising awareness of the disease and inspiring women to check their breasts regularly.

The Lancashire-born TV personality also filmed a series of videos documenting the chemotherapy and radiotherapy she underwent, breaking the process down for those going through a similar experience.

After doctors confirmed there was no longer any cancer detected in her body, Victoria was inspired to publish a book on her journey, which quickly became a bestseller.

Fast forward three years and her proud sons are running her social media accounts while she takes on the trials on I'm A Celeb, showing their support for their mum on Instagram and Twitter.

Ollie broke the news earlier this month, saying: "It's true – my mum is going on #ImACeleb this year and I'm very proud of her. I'm also in charge of her Twitter while she's in the castle. Ollie, Victoria's son (16).

"P.s sorry to everyone at school who's been asking me and I couldn't say anything."

While Joe, who is taking over her Instagram, wrote: "Come on Mum!

He added: "Thanks for all your support so far and I'm excited to watch how this pans out!"

Dear Cancer, Love Victoria: A Mum's Diary of Hope is available to buy both online and in book stores.

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