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A heart-warming children’s book, inspired by true life events.

Front cover of Butterfly Boy by Toria Pickering

Front cover of Butterfly Boy by Toria Pickering

For mother’s who have recently received a diagnosis of a life changing condition or perhaps you have been living with a chronic illness for some time, you could be feeling weak and unsettled and this can create emotions that can unbalance us.

The best gift we can give a child is our time, even if it is just a few minutes. Reading with your child, no matter what age is an incredible way to spend key moments.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Toria Pickering, a Paediatric nurse and cancer survivor from Worcestershire. The mum of twin boys who had just turned 4 when she was diagnosed, talked me through her cancer journey. It was Toria’s mother who urged her to have a blood test initially and the results showed that her markers were out of the normal range. She had been feeling fatigued but Toria had rationalised this by being a busy mum and at the time, remarkably was also training for the marathon.


Symptoms worsened and soon Toria found that at first she was getting up in the night to go to the toilet to wee and then she became constipated and bloated with a sensation on constantly ‘feeling full’. When the diagnostic process to understand what was wrong had finished, Toria explained that she had already told herself that it was likely to be cancer and was taken pleasantly aback when she was told it was an Ovarian cyst, something that had been experienced by close family members too.

A relieved Toria was very aware of and could physically feel the cyst- it was really starting to bother her, impacting her day to day life. With the support of her mother, she decided to go privately to have the cyst removed. COVID struck and the hospital cancelled her appointment to prioritise urgent cases.

After continuous, horrendous pain and a visit to A&E, Toria was admitted for surgery to have the cyst removed the next day.

“It was a very surreal experience with all of the staff in full PPE when I went to theatre to have my surgery”


The cyst measured at 14cm and Toria was in surgery for a worrying nearly 6 hours. Recovery was difficult, with pain and fatigue kicking in massively, draining Toria. Even though she wasn’t feeling well, she returned to work – because she had only had a cyst removed right?… Wrong!

After chasing the histology report for the cyst, Toria learned that she did in fact have Ovarian cancer, a rare form called Mixed Germ cell Ovarian cancer with an agressive malignancy. Toria was referred to Charing Cross in London for her chemo cycles which started two weeks after her diagnosis. She went through a very scary 4 rounds of chemo, all through COVID, which meant that she was unable to have support of a loved one with her.

The Uplifted team holding Butterfly Boy when it hit number 15 on Amazon

The Uplifted team holding Butterfly Boy when it hit number 15 on Amazon


“The boys were watching Peppa pig and I was just thinking, OMG am I going to die? I was sacred to start chemo, I didn’t want to leave my boys.”

With trips to London and exhausting chemo rounds leaving after affects that saw Toria also having to visit her local hospital, she was increasingly aware of not being able to spend time with her boys. It was a very difficult time but it was this experience that gave her the idea for her children’s book.

Toria, like millions of other women who have a life challenging illness can relate, it is very difficult to explain these things to children. We have to be so very careful in how we gently explain, without making them feel worried and afraid of the future.

How Butterfly Boy was born

Toria has created a story of hope. This is a tale of a little boy, Oliver, who’s mummy is poorly in bed and how he cares for and nurtures a weeny caterpillar until it becomes a beautiful butterfly, all the while sharing his experience with his mummy.

“What is hope?” asked Oliver

“Hope is the power to think anything is possible” she replied

a snippet from buttergly boy

An Uplifting story from an Uplifting super woman, thank you Toria for sharing your journey with Uplifted. Congratulations for trending on Amazon with a 4.9 out of 5 star review.

Toria’s heart warming book ‘Butterfly Boy’ was written for her boys when she came out the other side of her cancer journey but it really is a beautiful book for anyone to read with any child.

You can purchase Butterfly Boy, with free delivery on Amazon Prime for £6.99.

The lovely Toria, Author of 'Butterfly Boy'

The lovely Toria, Author of ‘Butterfly Boy’

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