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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Mother’s moving tribute to fun-loving north Cumbrian woman

A heartbroken mother today spoke movingly of her daughter’s courage as she prepared to undergo her second liver transplant.

Tracy Paterson photo
Tracy Paterson

Tracy Paterson, 33, who was a devoted mum to her seven-year-old daughter Rianna, died in hospital last week.

In a moving interview, Tracy’s mother Joyce Dayson, 52, told how even as she prepared to undergo major surgery on November 6, her daughter remained positive and concerned for others.

Ms Dayson spoke also of her hope that Tracy’s life might inspire other people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Feisty, courageous, and stubbornly optimistic, Tracy had refused to be beaten by illness and became the kind of fun-loving and devoted mum every child deserves.

She was a 14-year-old schoolgirl when her life was saved by a liver transplant but tragically she was not strong enough for medics to repeat the miracle.

Joyce, who runs the Country Kitchen Cafe in Dalston, recalled how as a schoolgirl Tracy had suddenly collapsed, becoming so ill that doctors gave her 24 hours to live unless she got a new liver.

Thankfully, a donor was found and Tracy was given a second chance of life.

Twelve years later, as a young woman, she had cried with joy as a nurse confirmed that she was pregnant.

Rianna was born in 2005 – her arrival signifying the realisation of a dream for a young woman who was repeatedly warned that pregnancy could kill her.

From the moment of her birth, her daughter, known affectionately as Annie-Lamb, has been at the centre of Tracy’s life, and she always knew that it was a miracle made possible by the generosity of a grieving family who agreed to donating her a liver.

“She did speak about it when she was older, and of course she was grateful but it was only when she became a mother herself that she fully realised how hard it must have been for the mother of the donor to do that.”

Tracy, from Great Orton, near Carlisle, needed a transplant after developing an auto-immune disease that disrupted her liver function.

Her transplant was a success, but two years ago her illness reappeared.

Joyce said: “She had a bad year but she was always a great mum and did everything she could possibly do to make that little lass happy.

“At the last school sports day at Great Orton Primary in the summer, Tracy was ill but she ran in the parents’ race because she didn’t want Rianna to be the only one whose mum wasn’t taking part.

“She shouldn’t have done it, really: she could hardly get out of bed. She came last, but that was Tracy – determined to get on with her life.

“She was a fantastic mum. They were more like playmates than mother and daughter.”

A month ago, as Tracy’s health became worse, she was admitted to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital to await a second liver transplant.

In one poignant message, posted on her Facebook page on October 22, Tracy told her friends: “I’m on the top list [for a transplant] and could be here for days. To all my friends, pray for me. Just hope I come out ok. Love u all xxx.”

Joyce said: “On the morning of her operation Tracy was so positive. She was lying in her bed, planning her new life.”

Joyce told of their last conversation, moments before Tracy was wheeled into the operating theatre.

“She said to me: I love you mum – tell Annie-Lamb I love her. I just said ‘I love you too – see you in a few hours. Everything will be fine’.”

Medics gave Tracy her new liver on November 6 but within hours she was back in surgery.

“Tracy’s mind and her spirit were strong enough for the transplant, but her body wasn’t,” said Joyce.

At 10.23am on November 8, with all hope of a recovery gone, her life support machine was turned off. Doctors later confirmed that she had died as a result of multiple organ failure.

Joyce later faced the terrible task of breaking the news to Rianna.

Like her mother, Rianna is already showing her own brand of courage in the face of such terrible news.

“She’s being amazing,” said Joyce. “She adored her mother and she’ll never forget her.”

Tracy’s funeral service and cremation will be held at Carlisle Crematorium on Monday at 11.40am. Her family have requested donations to the Ward 12 Patient Fund at the Freeman Hospital.

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