A COURAGEOUS young Sheffield woman who defied doctors to live beyond the age of five has died at 32 after losing her fight against cystic fibrosis.
Kealley Hawnt, of Mason Lathe Road, Shiregreen, was diagnosed with the condition as a baby, but grew up determined to live a normal life.
She completed school, held down a job, attended college and fulfilled her ultimate wish - to marry husband Dave and have a child, 13-year-old daughter Summer.
Her devastated mum Helen Hill, 51, told The Star: “Summer is the image of Kealley. She’s got a big heart like her mum.
“I’m glad Kealley lived long enough to see Summer coming up to her teenage years. She’ll have happy memories of her mum.”
She added: “All she ever wanted was a family. She was a perfect mum and did things with Summer some healthy parents don’t do. She took her to swimming and, dancing lessons, everything.”
Helen said cystic fibrosis - which carries a life expectancy of around 35 years - is ‘a cruel illness’.
“Kealley fought every step of the way to live,” she said. “At first I was angry she had gone, now I’m relieved she’s not suffering any more, and she’s not in any pain. But it’s very hard. She was my friend, she was everything to me.”
Kealley - a former Firth Park School pupil who studied beauty therapy at Sheffield City College and later worked in Debenhams cafe in Meadowhall - was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 13 months old.
Helen said the diagnosis left her ‘numb’, adding: “The doctors said she wouldn’t live beyond the age of five.”
But Kealley remained healthy enough to start school at Beck Primary before moving up to Firth Park. “She was very popular. Some of the PE lessons were difficult for her but she did all the classes. She had a relatively normal childhood.”
Her health began to deteriorate five years ago and she was on the lung transplant list, but was taken off when her condition became too severe.
She was cared for at the Northern General Hospital’s dedicated cystic fibrosis ward.