Jess Mills says the loss of her mother, Tessa Jowell, to brain cancer just 15 months after becoming a mother herself is “one of the greatest sadnesses” she is living with.
The health advocate opened up on tonight’s episode of Lorraine while discussing her late mother’s legacy.
One of her most notable achievements was winning the tender London 2012, which took place 10 years ago this month.
Appearing on Lorraine today, Jess, who runs the Tessa Jowell Foundation, which aims to improve the treatment of brain cancer, spoke about the loss of her mother.
Jess Mills (pictured), daughter of Tessa Jowell, appeared on Lorraine today to talk about her mother’s legacy
Tessa Jowell, pictured here during her historic speech to the House of Lords in 2018, died of brain cancer four years ago
She told Lorraine: “One of my biggest sadnesses to live with is that … my experience of becoming a mother overlapped with my experience of losing my mother.
“We had just 10 weeks before she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, which honestly was one of the most precious and happiest times of my life.
“But you know, we’ve had 15 months with her with my daughter and … when I’m overwhelmed by emotions like this, I’m just so grateful that we had them.
“I feel so fortunate that we had her for this time.”
During the segment, a visibly emotional Jess also spoke about the “historic” speech her mother gave to the House of Lords in January 2018, just months before her death.
During the speech, Tessa said: “What gives meaning to a life is not only how it is lived, but also how it ends.
Tessa Jowell, pictured here with her granddaughter Ottie, died of brain cancer just 15 months after Ottie was born
“I hope this debate gives other cancer patients like me hope, so that we can live longer with cancer and not just die from it, all of us.”
Jess said: “I… feel so overwhelmed with emotion every time I watch [the speech]and I’m just so proud… just looking at it makes me burst… especially if you knew how sick she was at the time.”
She added that after her mother’s health deteriorated just days before the speech, “there were real concerns about whether she could make it.”
“But she got absolutely none of it,” Jess said. “So we sat in the gallery and watched her perform that with our hearts in our throats.
“She understood every single word … it was remarkable, absolutely remarkable.”
Jess, pictured here with her mother Tessa Jowell, says “nothing has taught her so much about the power of a life well-lived” than seeing her mother’s influence
Jess also spoke about leading the Tessa Jowell Foundation, which will release a re-edited film version of Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony to raise funds for brain cancer sufferers.
Describing the position as a “privilege,” she said, “Nothing has taught me so much about the power of a life well-lived [as] seeing the tremendous energy my mother’s life force had, even after her death.
“And so it’s just the most incredible privilege and honor for me to lead the Tessa Jowell Foundation, and you know, my mother used to say, ‘With privilege comes great responsibility.’
“And I think as her daughter, as someone who has the heart of an activist, it’s a privilege I can’t possibly turn my back on.”