About Maria

Maria - Just before diagnosis
Maria – Just before diagnosis

Born in Birmingham in 1988, Maria had a fantastic future planned for herself. Her intention was to go to University and become a lawyer.

Maria Watt, born 6/7/88, at Marston Green Maternity Hospital, Birmingham.

Treasured Daughter of Diane & Ken Watt; Fantastic Sister and Best Friend to David; Beloved Grand-Daughter, Niece, Cousin and Friend.

Born on 6th July, 1988, we were at Drayton Manor Park when I realised this is it! I had kept quiet about it as we were having a day out with our 14 month old son, David and I didn’t want to spoil it. As the pain got worse it became clear to my husband that something was up. We managed to get home, made arrangements for David and went off to the hospital.  Maria arrived at 3.53 am.

A beautiful, normal, healthy child. David was just 14 months old and now we felt that our little family was complete.They grew up together, so close in age, meant they never really spent much time apart.It was a struggle at first, 2 babies in the house and only 1 income.The nightmare that was the late 80’s started to kick in and there wasn’t much money around – but like most people we managed.

David’s first day at school was traumatic. He didn’t want to go and was crying – Maria wanted to know why she couldn’t go, after all, they spent all their time together and she thought this can’t be right, leaving me on my own.  We pacified her by telling her that she would be going soon.  Every day, it was “am I going today?”

The great day arrived. Maria’s first day at school was great. She ran in as if she had been there all the time. I could see other children crying and their mother’s looking worried as I had done the previous year. I was very calm but underneath thought, this is it, my children are growing up and that day was the start of a different journey. I couldn’t wait to see her that evening to find out all the news – and news she had. Every day there was news, there was no stopping her now. She had gone into school that morning with 2 beautiful pig-tail plaits looking very smart. She came out with one pig-tail up and one down; a runny nose and clothes that looked like they had been lying in a ball for a week. Some of the mother’s were smiling and saying “ah, look at that little one”. She loved it. The runny nose was always a problem. When it was time to have their first school photograph together I said to David “make sure her nose is wiped”. He came home very proud of himself that evening saying “mommy, I wiped her nose”. It wasn’t until the photographs came that I saw that yes, he had wiped her nose – right the way across her face!!!

Our Lady’s RC School, Tile Cross, Birmingham. A lovely little school with teachers who cared. Maria enjoyed being there. It became clear quite quickly that she would do well. She made her First Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation at Our Lady’s and all were special times for our family. She went on school trips and was involved with the Church, serving and taking part in both School and Sunday Masses.

After Year 6, Maria attended Archbishop Grimshaw RC School, Chelmsley Wood. Not quite what she expected. The school was vast and there were so many kids. Going from a school with 200 to a school with 1200 was daunting but she coped. It was again clear very early on that she would do well.

Again, she went on school trips and was part of the Gifted & Talented Group.

She was generally a quiet girl. Most teachers said, “you don’t know that she’s there” but they did sense that there was something quite remarkable in Maria and that she had a talent for learning.

Maria achieved 7 ‘A’ and 2 ‘B’ Grades in her GCSE’s. So far, so good. On entering the Sixth Form, she decided to take English, Maths, Biology and Law as her A Level subjects. Was she mad? A tough ask! But, she settled into it very quickly and enjoyed this new way of learning with some independence and respect thrown in.

Maria had a number of great passions. She loved music and had been learning to play the piano from an early age achieving Grade 5 and working towards Grade 6. Her piano teacher had great time for her and on occasions, came to football matches with us. Indeed, Richard & Sarah were so comfortable with her that they left their baby son with her – for a few quid, of course.

She loved football, particularly her beloved Birmingham City. Home and Away she enjoyed the excitement of each game and loved the travelling no matter how far it was. She had a season ticket and was as thrilled as everyone locally when Blues finally made it into the Premiership.

One of her great passions was holidays – always looking for somewhere new to go and experience. She’d been to Cornwall, Devon, Ireland, Spain, Majorca, France, Disneyland Paris, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Egypt. Our next destination was to be Barbados to co-incide with her 18th birthday. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be.

Another great passion was clothes. She enjoyed shopping at Miss Sixty and I think she had every pair of jeans they had. Richard commented when Maria was admitted to hospital, “Miss Sixty are scared, they think they are going to go out of business”.

Maria tried all the clubs – Swimming (getting all her badges including survival), Karate, Canoeing, Irish Dancing, Trampolining, Aikido, Keyboard lessons, Gymnastics to name but a few.

Music became part of Maria’s life. She loved listening to bands such as Oasis, Guns n Roses, Queen and Nirvana. She followed her Dad in his music taste. She was delighted when she was able to get hold of tickets to go to the Oasis concert at Milton Keynes which was scheduled for the 9th July, 2005. This was a present for her birthday and we were all going. She never got to see them.

Maria, a beautiful, intelligent girl, whose life was cruelly cut short by an illness that she and her family knew little about. Our beautiful Maria, intelligent, kind and caring. She had a fantastic future planned for herself and was working towards her A Level grades in Maths, English, Biology and Law.  Her intention was to go to university and become a lawyer.