How Cassie inspired mum to help young cancer patients

Gloria Nascimento helped Jason Carrasco during his cancer battle. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Gloria Nascimento helped Jason Carrasco during his cancer battle. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Kanahooka mother Gloria Nascimento is one of three state finalists for Barnados Mother of the Year due to her generous support for young cancer patients even while caring for her own sick child.

Mrs Nascimento's positive spirit and support was crucial for Jason Carrasco of Barrack Heights, when he was undergoing treatment for testicular cancer at the age of 18. That's why he nominated her for the awards.

"I just wanted to see her acknowledged for her amazing courage and strength," Jason, now 20, said.

"She deserves it for staying positive and emotionally strong for her daughter - and for the selfless support she showed to other young patients like myself.

Cassie Nascimento: "She was the strong one, the one who gave me so much courage."

Cassie Nascimento: "She was the strong one, the one who gave me so much courage."

"To me Gloria is a role model and I can only hope that one day I share that same unconditional love and support for my own children."

Sadly Mrs Nascimento's beloved daughter Cassandra died in November at the age of 19 after a three-year battle with brain cancer.

Mr Carrasco said the mother of three was by her daughter's side every step of the way - through three operations and extensive treatment, even taking her overseas for experimental treatment when all else had failed.

"When Cass would stay overnight in hospital she refused to let her daughter be alone and would often sleep on the floor next to her daughter's bed to be by her side," he said.

"Gloria would instil the gift of positivity to her to overcome fear. This in turn rubbed off on Cass and all her friends.

"Gloria saw the need to help other young adults through cancer and would donate a large portion of her time in between her daughter's treatments to help other young adults in hospital."

Mr Carrasco said Mrs Nascimento often came to hospital armed with healthy meals and the occasional cupcake to brighten his day, and also lent support to his parents during the emotional time.

While Mrs Nascimento, her husband Joe, and their children Andrea, 25, and Christopher, 27, are still grieving the loss of Cass, there is some comfort in the support and acknowledgement this award brings.

"I'm very honoured," Mrs Nascimento said. "I got very emotional when I got the call - I know Cass would have wanted this.

"It's all for her - she was the strong one, the one who gave me so much courage and who gave so much strength to everyone around her.

"She was an ambassador for the You Can campaign for youth cancer, she took part in charity events, she did so much for others - she was just such an inspiration."

Mrs Nascimento and her family will travel to Parliament House on Monday, where the winner of the NSW Barnardos Mother of the Year will be announced.

The NSW winner will then join seven other state and territory winners for the announcement of the national award in Sydney on May 9.

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