Woman who 'refused to give up' dies months after first complaining of headaches and fatigue
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A woman has lost her life months after discovering her cancer had returned.
Leigh Kelly died at the age of 36 on 16 January shortly after complaining of headaches and fatigue.
She was first diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in October of 2019 and received treatment at Royal Oldham Hospital within weeks of being told the news.
Her mother Janet Caldwell has described her late daughter as a 'fighter' who was 'never going to just give up'.
"Leigh had been referred to the breast clinic within days of going to the doctors," Janet explained.
"It all moved very quickly, she began treatment and started having chemotherapy and also did two trials at the Christie. Then she had radiotherapy.
"Even from the beginning she was so positive and determined to fight it.
"She was never going to just give up. She told the doctors she would have any treatment.
"She was that kind of girl and never felt sorry for herself."
In 2020, after successful treatment, Leigh was placed in remission and family members were delighted with the news.
"All of us were so happy," Janet added.
"But obviously as her mum I was still always scared it would come back.
"She was living again and just enjoying life. She never stopped and was always so busy, she had amazing friends."
However, at the start of 2022, Leigh started to complain about headache and fatigue, before new scans revealed that she had three tumours in her brain, as well as additional tumours in her breast bone, lung and oesophagus.
"It was extremely heartbreaking," mum Janet said.
"It had been terrible for her. The head pains had been making her life hell."
Despite undergoing a successful operation at Salford Royal Hospital for one of her tumours, doctors informed her that the diagnosis was terminal and she had just months left to live.
The Christie Hospital agreed to continue chemotherapy and radiotherapy in a bid to try and prolong her life.
Sadly, the damage had already been done.
"It was extremely heartbreaking and scary for us all, but knowing Leigh and her fight, she just said her brain could handle more radiotherapy," Janet added.
"She was that kind of girl and was so encouraging to other people who had reached out to her. Everybody loved her."
In October 2022, Leigh was unable to walk properly and the cancer continued to spread.
"When they gave her two weeks left to live, she said 'at least I have had six months more than the average person'. She was so inspirational and just never let it get her down," Janet said.
"She'd been stuck in bed for months and hadn't been able to do anything. It was very hard going."
Janet says she was 'honoured' to witness her last moments.
"I'd like to think that her story could help give strength to someone else going through this awful disease," the mother added.
"Somebody's life could be saved by getting something checked and pushing the doctors. If Leigh hadn't have done, then she might not have been here as long."