A SHEFFIELD mother-of-three, who died at the age of 30 after a five-year battle with skin cancer, has left a legacy of thousands of pounds to the hospital that cared for her.
Kirsty Winterbottom took part in the 5k Race for Life in the city centre last July, pushed in her wheelchair by sisters Karen and Kerry, and even completed fundraising challenges in the month before she died.
All the money she raised, including more than £1,300 collected after her death, will go to Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.
Husband David said: “Kirsty touched the hearts of so many people. She never moaned once through all that pain. She lived life to the fullest and never complained.”
Kirsty developed skin cancer despite never having tanned on a sunbed.
When she found a tiny lump on her scalp, doctors assured her it was nothing to worry about but it turned out to be a malignant melanoma which eventually spread through her lymph nodes to her lungs, liver, pelvis and spine.
David, aged 38, of Radnor Close, Sothall, said his wife kept cheerful throughout her treatment, which included six operations, nine bouts of chemotherapy and one spell of radiotherapy.
She attended work as usual, as a ward clerk at the Jessop Wing maternity hospital, and kept laughing until the end with her family and sons Louis, 10, Reece, six, and Charlie, five.
Her mum, Barbara Skeggs, aged 62, said: “She used to text me when it was bad news, saying, ‘Don’t worry mum, it hasn’t beaten me yet’.
“She kept her sense of humour right to the very end.”
In her final days, Kirsty called her sons to her bedside at Weston Park Hospital and explained that she was going to die.
David said: “She was so brave. She even had the bottle to get the little lads up and say goodbye. She told them not to worry –‑ that she would be a star in the sky.”
At her funeral, with 450 people packed into the chapel and queuing outside, Louis had the courage to stand up and read a poem.
David, a car paint sprayer, said: “The years have been very hard. But I never gave up and she never gave up. When she was down I picked her up and we got on with it.
“We tried to live life the best we could and got on with it for the kids. We never let it get us down, not once.”
Last November, to celebrate her 30th birthday, Kirsty organised a surprise ceremony at Sheffield Town Hall for her and David to renew their wedding vows.
“It was incredible,” said David. “I only found out half an hour before, and there was all the family there, with a reception at Bramall Lane afterwards.
“She always thought of everyone except herself. That’s the kind of person she was.”