A young British mother of one died tragically on Christmas Day, less than a month after she was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Kirsten Hawksey, 23, of Liverpool, England, was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia on Nov. 27, and died less than a month later after complications during her chemotherapy.
She had noticed bruising on her legs, the Liverpool Echo reports, but didn’t think much of it, figuring it was from her 15-month-old daughter who she “idolized,” according to her father.
“The bruises looked like what I can only describe as when you have been paintballing,” her father, Neil, said.
She googled her symptoms, and although Leukemia came up, no one took it seriously—she seemed perfectly healthy other than the bruising.
As the bruising worsened, friends and family urged her to go to the doctor, and after about a week of her loved ones pestering her, she did.
“Doctors asked her if she had felt tired and she said ‘yes but not exceptionally so,’” Neil said, according to the Echo.
“She had a 15-month-old daughter and worked full time—she was bound to be tired.”
When doctors finally gave a diagnosis after running blood tests, the family said it was surreal.
“It was weird hearing the doctors say how ill she actually was, because she was sitting there laughing and joking with me,” Neil said.
They sent her to Royal Liverpool Hospital to start chemo, but her condition soon turned for the worse.
On Christmas Eve, just a few weeks after her 23rd birthday, she was transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital, in Greater Manchester for a lung infection. That same night, she suffered bleeding in her brain and was put on life support.
The next day, Christmas, the family made the difficult decision to remove her from life support.
“She was so strong willed and she just planned to fight it and get on with life. … She would never have given up fighting because of her daughter—she idolised her and completely loved her to bits,” said Neil. “But sadly things were taken out of her control.”
He said the whole family felt completely “numb.”
Before she died, Hawksey surprised her family by posting one last message to Facebook.
“I never go to the doctor’s so thank God for for everyone pushing me to go over some unexplained bruising! I literally couldn’t thank all my friends, family and work colleagues for all their support this last week. If anything I feel more lucky than unlucky. Just wanted to thank you all.”
“We didn’t even know she had posted that message on Facebook,” Neil said. “Kirsten was very private so it was a massive shock that she had.”
“She obviously wanted to raise awareness.”
2017 Year in Review