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Mead: My mum shines through me – she wanted me to help others

“Perspective is a wonderful thing,” Beth Mead says from the gardens of Arsenal’s Colney training base, speaking exclusively to Sky Sports about her late mother June, who passed away from ovarian cancer just over a year ago.

“My mum shines through me. She was so bright in the hardest moments of her life – why should I ever feel bad?”

The Arsenal forward has been doing battle across multiple fronts in March. This weekend, the Gunners face Chelsea in the Conti Cup final, seeking revenge for the disappointment they suffered at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago, where a 3-1 loss effectively curtailed their WSL title hopes.

Sunday marks what is likely to be Arsenal’s only chance for silverware this season – this time with Mead in tow, after she missed the 2023 final with a long-term knee injury.

Beth Mead celebrates after beating Man United at the Emirates in February
Image: Beth Mead celebrates after beating Man United at the Emirates in February

Simultaneously, the England international has been triumphantly leading a charity campaign in the name of her late mother, to help raise vital funds for ovarian cancer research.

Alongside Arsenal team-mates, who the winger says have “supported her endlessly”, Mead has travelled 100km, aiming to celebrate the memory of those cruelly lost to ovarian cancer, while also pushing to fund research that will help to make the disease more survivable for future sufferers.

“It would be easy to box it away, but the type of person I am and the type of person my mum was, I want to give back the best I can in her name. I want to make her proud and push for other women,” Mead says.

“She sat and told me, my brother and my dad she never wanted us to rest on our laurels. She wanted us to live life and help others. Hopefully by me being an ambassador for ovarian cancer I can help do that.”

Beth Mead celebrates as she scores to make it 4-0 to England
Image: The forward was back with England in December and scored her side’s fourth goal in a 6-0 defeat of Scotland

The 28-year-old, who has spoken previously about managing her lengthy injury recovery with the challenges of loss and grief, wants to raise awareness about the disease, with approximately 7,500 people diagnosed a year. Of those diagnosed, only three in 10 women live beyond 10 years.

“From diagnosis my mum lasted 18 months,” Mead continues. “Through the Euros [which England won], watching me, she was on such a high and feeling a lot better – 10 days after the final she found out it had spread a lot further.

“It’s scary how quickly that disease can take over you and how little symptoms she had for such a long time. We were joking about her putting weight on, she was doing pre-season exercises with me, but that was the only indicator she was ill.”

Just over 12 months on from her mother’s passing, Mead reflects with a warm smile, surrounded by the spring-like scenery of Arsenal’s grounds. The adjacent pond glistened in the sunshine. “It’s been really refreshing mentally, knowing you’re helping out with such an amazing cause,” she says.

Beth Mead celebrates after opening the scoring for Arsenal against Chelsea
Image: Mead was on the scoresheet the last time Arsenal beat Chelsea in league competition – a 4-1 win in December

The No 9 will be tasked with making another valuable contribution this weekend, this time to Arsenal’s cause. She’s started 11 league games since returning from injury last October, scoring four goals and assisting three.

Her numbers aren’t quite as impressive as pre-injury but steadily, performances are reaching close to, as she terms it, her “Euros best”.

Mead has won the League Cup twice during her seven-year Arsenal career, and should Sunday end in a third success, it might just prove to be the most memorable yet.

Support Beth Mead’s JustGiving fundraising page here.

Sky News
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