A mother who fought cancer for four years, telling her story every step of the way in a bid to raise awareness and help others through the illness, has sadly passed away.
Maria Slater, who ran the ‘My name is Maria I am 35, I have grade 2 Breast and stage 3 Ovarian cancer’ group on Facebook died on September 16.
She wanted people to read her own experiences and learn from them, with the key message to make sure to check themselves, so they get an early diagnosis.
Brother Martin Lynch told The Standard: “She’s always been the biggest fighter I’ve known - she was small in stature and big in heart.
“It didn’t matter what the occasion, she wanted it to be as big as possible and when there were obstacles in the way she would blast through them. She was a fighter and she wanted to help other people all the time.
“She was like that as a kid, as a teenager and as an adult.”
He described how Maria, 39, would often care for other patients, check on them and make sure they were ok, adding: “You would forget that she was a patient.”
Martin said the family were obviously upset by the loss, but that the strength of Maria’s children Mackenzie, 11, Madison, nine, and Mazie, six, had been a comfort.
He said: “Her three daughters have been amazing.”
Maria set up her blog, which has more than 3,600 followers, when she was diagnosed in 2012.
The page is planned to stay online ‘forever’ says Martin, in a bid to help as many people as possible.
“The blog wasn’t just about her last days,” said Martin. “This is a four year long story and more than 100,000 people were reached by my sister and hearing her story and sharing it on Facebook. Everything she had on their was designed to help other people. So other people could see this is what
The last post on the group announced Maria’s passing saying: “This morning quietly whilst sleeping Maria said goodbye to us and joined her angels to watch over her three precious daughters. She laid down her gloves and ended her fight on her terms. She was without pain and had said her farewells.”
In the post, the family also thanked family and friends for their support and staff at Pilgrim Hospital who cared for Maria.
They especially thanked mother-in-law and father-in-law Sue and Terry Slater, and aunty Chris Duffield.
One of the last posts from Maria, written on September 10, describes how, after agreeing to a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), she had to explain to her children what was happening and that ‘soon it would be time for me to go into a special sleep, that I wouldn’t wake up from’.
A birthday party, which had been planned for Maria’s 40th birthday at Hubberts Bridge will still take place in her memory.
Maria’s funeral is set to take place on Thursday, at 2.45pm with a service at St Botolph’s Church which anyone can attend. Following this will be a private cremation for family.
The family have said flowers and donations are welcome - those received on the day will be split between Macmillan, Butterfly Hospice and Ward 7A at Pilgrim Hospital.
Maria also leaves behind mother Teresa Lynch, father Harold and sister Suzanne.