Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Brave Cumbrian mum loses cancer battle on Mother's Day

Tributes have been paid to a brave mum-of-two who died aged just 32 on Mother’s Day following a long battle with cancer.

Saranne Wilkinson photo
Saranne Wilkinson

Saranne Wilkinson had already fought off breast cancer once but it returned over a year ago and gradually spread. As they prepare to bury her today, her family described her as a remarkable woman whose world revolved around her children.

Brought up in Allonby, Saranne later moved to Oakland Avenue in Maryport, where she lived with husband Les and children, Jake, five, and four-year-old Sadie Mae.

She was well known across the area having worked as a teaching assistant, family support worker and community nursery nurse. It was Saranne who launched baby massage classes in Maryport, which were later taken on by Sure Start.

More recently she had trained for her dream job, as a midwifery support worker, and had been due to start at Workington hospital when she became ill.

It was Christmas 2009 when Saranne was first diagnosed with cancer after finding a lump in her breast. She underwent a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Les said they hoped it had gone for good but were warned it was an aggressive cancer and could return. That day arrived around Christmas 2010. This time it had spread to her bones and doctors told her it was incurable.

But even after this bombshell Saranne refused to let it beat her. She underwent several courses of chemotherapy and drug treatments to help keep the cancer at bay and Les said she never gave in. “She was fantastic, it was quite unbelievable to be honest. Even when she was supposed to be resting she was cleaning and washing and being a full-time mother.

“Her life always revolved around her children and that never changed. She was still living life to the full. She even did the Race for Life when she was quite ill and raised over £2,000.”

Mum Shirley Rodney added: “She never complained and never asked for help. When she became ill the second time she went into schools as a volunteer to read to the kids. I don’t know how she did it – she really was a remarkable woman.”

But no matter how hard she fought, the family knew there was no cure. In February they discovered that fluid had started to build up inside her lung.

She went over to Newcastle for an operation, which is when doctors discovered her kidneys were not working properly. Following surgery she was allowed home again, but it had taken its toll. She was too ill to undergo her next course of chemotherapy.

She spent her last two weeks at home with her family before finally passing away on Sunday. Les said she had been determined to hold on until Mother’s Day. Her final hours were spent as she wanted them – with her children, surrounded by their cards and gifts.

Saranne and Les got married six-and-a-half years ago at Crosscanonby Church after being introduced by friends during a night out in Workington. He said what attracted him to her was her sense of fun – she loved dressing up with her friends and making people laugh. “She was daft as a brush. Other people would laugh at her laughing,” he said.

“She had a lot of friends. There was a big nucleus of lasses in Maryport she hung around with. She is going to be missed by a lot of people.”

Saranne’s two biggest passions were children and horses. As a child she would help out at the stables in Allonby and later got a horse of her own.

Stepdad Tom Rodney said: “She always put everybody else before herself. Even these past couple of years, she always thought of us before her.

“She was a very caring person, that’s why she chose the profession she was in. There isn’t a single person who would say anything bad about her.”

Before she died Saranne wrote a book for her husband and children, sharing her wishes and memories.

She is also survived by her dad, George Mulholland, sisters Hayley and Zelda, step sister Andrea, step brother Stephen, and nieces and nephews.

Her funeral was taking place today at St Mary’s Church in Maryport, followed by burial at a family plot in Dearham Cemetery. Guests were due to wear pink flowers and ribbons for breast cancer awareness, while donations were being collected for the Henderson chemotherapy suite at the West Cumberland Hospital and the cardiothoracic ward at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Have your say

reading all these comments makes me feel so proud to have known such a wonderful person in saranne, she was a true inspiration to everyone in her life and the pleasure was all mine to have known and shared so many memories with in the past twenty years or so. I will make sure her memory lives on in her adorable children.

Posted by nicola stewart on 28 March 2012 at 19:52

What a sad story, and yet uplifting at the same time.

Posted by PaulM on 27 March 2012 at 12:35

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