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A 23-year-old mum who died on Christmas Day - less than a month after being diagnosed with leukaemia - posted a heartbreaking final Facebook message in the days before her death.
Kirsten Hawksey - who is said to have “idolised” her 15-month-old daughter Penelope - was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia on November 27.
In her last post on Facebook - made on December 3, the day she started chemotherapy - Kirsten thanked her family and friends for persuading her to go to the doctors and urged people to “not ignore any symptom”.
Kirsten posted: "This is by all means not a cry for sympathy because that's not like me as you will be aware haha, but more so awareness.
"I never go to the doctors, so thank god for everyone pushing me to go over some unexplained bruising!
"I literally couldn't thank all my family, friends and work colleagues for all their support this last week. If anything I feel more lucky than unlucky."
Sadly Kirsten, from Merseyside, lost her battle for life on Monday - Christmas Day - three weeks after she last posted the public message on Facebook.
Today her devastated dad Neil explained to the Liverpool Echo how his “gorgeous and strong-willed” daughter had noticed bruising on her legs which she initially ignored.
“She actually Googled the symptom and it came back saying leukaemia. But it was just laughed off, because she wasn’t sick,” he said.
But after the bruising worsened Kirsten went to the doctors and, after blood tests, was immediately admitted to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital to begin chemotherapy.
But, on Christmas Eve, Kirsten - who celebrated her birthday just weeks earlier - contracted a lung infection and was transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital, in Greater Manchester.
Her immune system had crashed and the young mum was placed on life support and a lung-bypass machine.
Tragically, on December 25, Kirsten suffered a bleed on the brain and later that day her devastated family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off her life support machine.
Now her family want to help spread her last message.
Neil, 39, said: “We didn’t even know she had posted that message on Facebook - Kirsten was very private so it was a massive shock that she had.
“But she obviously wanted to raise awareness and that is why we are speaking out to honour her wishes.”
Neil, from Crosby, said his daughter felt perfectly “normal” in the days leading up to her diagnosis, apart from noticing some unexplained bruising.
He said: “She was fit and well apart from this bruising.
“We said ‘go to the doctors’ but she said ‘I’m alright’ - she just thought it was from the baby.
“But it got to the point when she was in the house and she showed us her legs and we said you need to do to the doctors.
“The bruises looked like - what I can only describe as when you have been paintballing.
“Doctors asked her if she had felt tired and she said 'yes but not exceptionally so'.
“She had a 15-month-old daughter and worked full time - she was bound to be tired.
“We thought she could be anaemic or something.
“She actually Googled the symptom and it came back saying leukaemia. But it was just laughed off, because she wasn’t sick.”
After a week or so of being pestered by her friends and family Kirsten - a dental nurse in Liverpool city centre - eventually went to the doctors.
Following blood tests doctors delivered the devastating news she had Acute promyelocytic leukaemia - a cancer of the white blood cells.
However, despite the seriousness of her condition, Neil said his daughter remained positive.
He said: “It was weird hearing the doctors say how ill she actually was, because she was sitting there laughing and joking with me.
“Kirsten was not the type of girl who would moan or complain.
“She wasn’t a ‘why me?’ type.
“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.
“But sadly things were taken out of her control.”
Neil, who also has a 16-year-old son Jack, said it was “catastrophic” when doctors told him and wife Emma that their daughter had suffered a bleed on the brain.
He said the whole family just felt “completely numb”.
He said: “It doesn’t feel real at the moment to be honest.
“When we were told it was leukaemia I asked ‘why Kirsten?’ ‘was it anything she did?’ ‘could it not have been picked up when she had her daughter’? But doctors said ‘she is just unlucky’.
“There is no reason.
“She wasn’t a smoker - she drank very little, she was a hardworking, loving and gorgeous mum, daughter and granddaughter.”
Neil added: “We would not usually speak out like this but it was Kirsten’s last wish.
“We have had so much support from family and friends and have even had messages from people who don’t even know us which is overwhelming.
“We are devastated and I don’t know what we would have done without Penelope. But we will make sure she never forgets her mum.”