As recent as August of last year Jade Goody was given the devastating news that she had cervical cancer while she was appearing on India's version of Big Brother, "Big Boss". As a huge fan of Jade since her first appearance on Big Brother 3 in 2002 I was shocked like so many to read those headlines. Little did anyone know then we would now be reading about her impending death.
Over the years Jade has come in for a lot of criticism and cruel comments not least from those green with jealously of her success. OK, she made a few mistakes, don't we all, perhaps her biggest and most controversial one was the "poppadom" incident with Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007. Too much was made of that and I've always felt that the only reason Ms. Shetty caused such an uproar over it was because she saw Jade as a threat to her chance of winning CBB. She cleverly used the moment to secure her win with sympathy votes.
Life for Jade had always been an uphill struggle, missing out on schooling because she had to become a carer at the tender age of five to her brother and drug addicted parents, at one point dragging her doped-up mother from their blazing home. With her father in and out of prison and her mother with a paralyzed arm as a result of a horrendous motorbike accident Jade never got the chance to live her childhood in the carefree way every child deserves. She should not have had to take on that responsibility so young.
Big Brother 3 in May 2002 gave her the opportunity to temporarily escape her dreadful home environment and live her life where at last she would only be responsible for herself. The freedom must have been immense. Life in the BB house was not always fun and games for Jade. I felt her intense desire to be loved was taken advantage of by one or two of the male housemates. I particularly remember her having feelings for one of the guys and having spent some of the night with him he then rebuked her advances the following day. My heart broke watching her approaching him for a hug only for him to just walk away, I think that was when I really connected with her.
Alongside the sad moments were times when Jade was also highly entertaining with her hilarious outbursts. Although she only came in fourth (I still think she should have won) her BB experience would take her on a personal journey that only most of us could dream of. There were times during her adventures when I thought perhaps it was too much not necessarily too soon. There was no end to this sudden roller-coaster ride.
June 2003 saw the birth of Jade's first baby, a boy she called Bobby. Fifteen months later in September 2004 she gave birth to her second son, Freddie. Shortly following the birth she separated from Jeff Brazier, a television presenter and father of her two boys. Another painfull episode in Jade's life only this time she had the children to love and take care of.
The years leading up to the present were peppered with highs and lows, most notably, becoming a winner in yet another television show "Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes" and collapsing while participating in the April 2006 London Marathon. In May and June of the same year she released her first autobiography "Jade: My Autobiography" and launched her first fragrance, Shh! It seems that some time after that she was tested for bowel cancer.
The following year was a bad time for Jade. In January 2007 she returned to the BB house for Celebrity Big Brother with her boyfriend Jack Tweed (who she now plans to marry within the next week or so) and her mother Jackiey Budden. That was when the ill-fated episode with Bollywood film star Shilpa Shetty happened and the world just seemed to turn against poor Jade from that moment onwards. Bookstores removed her book from their shelves, her perfume wasn't selling any more and life must have been a total hell for her. Not anything to the hell she would face a year and a half later when once again reunited with Shilpa Shetty this time in India on their version of BB called "Big Boss" she would receive the earth-shattering news that she had cervical cancer.
Up until a week ago Jade had a huge fight on her hands, she was going to beat this basterding disease. Then last Friday, February 13th, her doctors hit her with the bombshell that she was dreading but probably secretly guessed, her cancer was now terminal. The life-saving surgery performed the previous week to remove the golf-ball sized turmour from her bowel succeeded only in the sense that had it been left she would surely have died from complications associated with a bowel blockage.
Now the previous hope of a 40% chance of recovery was cruelly replaced by no hope at all. A couple of months at most are all that remain of her short life but Jade being Jade is going to make the best of that time.
She has already drawn up a will leaving all her money and properties to her two adorable boys. They have always been the love of her life and even when she first received her cancer diagnosis it was her children that her thoughts turned to and how they would be looked after should she not make it. This young beautiful mother's world revolves entirely around these boys and she has already taken care of their private schooling expenses until they are eighteen. She desperately wants them to have the education she was so cruelly denied.
The other love of her life, Jack Tweed, himself just a twenty-one year old but now with all the worry and responsibility of a man many many years older has asked Jade to become his wife. With a spirit that only Jade Goody could possess she mustered the energy to leave her hospital bed accompanied by Jack and his mother (Jack wheeling Jade's wheelchair) to travel to Harrods Department Store where its owner, Mohamed Al Fayed presented Jade with the wedding dress she'd chosen as a wedding present. At some point during the day she and Jack exchanged wedding rings in an emotional private ceremony on the banks of the Thames.
Jade is also making plans to have her children christened because she wants them to know that their “Mummy will be looking down on them from Heaven”. She is refusing to use the word “dead”, she doesn’t feel she needs to right now. I’ve a feeling that this real life “Love Story” will remain in our hearts long after the 1970’s film has faded from our memories, after all, that was fiction. Jade, Bobby, Freddie and Jack are very real people who are about to embark each on their own journey. For Jade, it will be a journey to a very special place where there will be no more pain or suffering and from where she can look down upon her family and friends, especially her adorable children, Bobby and Freddie. In time they will grow to realise the wonderful loving mother they had in the person we’ve come to know and love as Jade Goody.
Above image at: www.bbc.co.uk
(The above post appears in my blogspot blog as my tribute to Jade Goody)