‘Do not cry for me’, says cancer campaigner in final post

‘Do not cry for me’, says cancer campaigner in final post

2 hours agoBy Rumeana Jahangir, BBC News@kate_rackhamKate Rackham shared updates about her treatment on social media

Tributes have been paid after the death of a teacher who raised awareness of incurable secondary breast cancer.

Kate Rackham was diagnosed with oestrogen-receptive breast cancer at the age of 39.

The Manchester-based teacher, who shared updates on her life with her 17,000 followers on the X platform, helped set up the Fighting to be Heard charity to raise awareness of the condition and provide support for those with the condition.

A post on her account on Thursday read: “If you’re reading this, it means I have died. But do not cry for me. I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to.”

‘A wonderful woman’

In her post, she said she had joined the social media platform “because I needed an outlet” but “what I got was so much more”.

“You made me feel validated in my feelings and much less alone. Thank you.”

Former BBC newsreader Beccy Barr, who attended the same school and has been diagnosed with abdominal cancer, posted a tribute, saying: “In recent months we reconnected and she was incredibly empathic and supportive of my terminal diagnosis as she handled her own. What a wonderful woman.”

Nicola Nuttall, whose daughter Laura, 23, died of brain cancer while achieving a bucket a list of ambitions, posted that she was “heartbroken that we’ve lost this truly incredible woman”.

Speaking about climbing Pendle Hill with Ms Rackham, in memory of Laura, Nicola added: “Kate really knew how to live, she wanted to come up Pendle but wouldn’t wait for better weather because she knew better than anyone the value of a single day.

“We nearly got blown off but it was brilliant, so glad we met.”

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‘Such dignity’

Ms Rackham previously told BBC Radio 5 Live about her “heartbreaking” struggles with hair loss.

“It’s really hard losing your hair. It’s not just losing your hair, it’s losing your eyelashes and eyebrows as well.

“That’s the difference between looking like you are rocking a bald head and looking like you are on chemotherapy,” she said.

She said her diagnosis “came as a massive shock”, and that prior to it, she had lumps that she had got checked out, but with no family history she was told not to worry.

When she noticed another lump, she said she did not get it checked straight away.

In her role as trustee of Fighting To Be Heard, Ms Rackham said her aim was “to raise awareness in a bid that no one else goes through what we are all going through”.

Woman donates hair to friend with breast cancer for a wig

Also known as advanced or metastatic breast cancer, secondary breast cancer occurs when a cancer that began in the breast spreads to another part of the body.

It is estimated that in England in 2020-2021, more than 57,000 patients were living with metastatic breast cancer.

It is the leading cause of death for females aged 35 to 49 in England and Wales.

On Thursday, Lord Jim Knight, who sits in the House of Lords, paid tribute to Ms Rackham, saying: “This made me stop today and turn off the noise. Such dignity.”

Educational technology businesswoman Emma Stokes also posted: “Thank you for sharing your journey with grace and dignity. I hope wherever you are, you are no longer in pain.”

Listen to the best of BBC Radio Manchester on Sounds and follow BBC Manchester on Facebook, X and Instagram. You can also send story ideas to northwest.newsonline@bbc.co.uk

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