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When Mair (pictured below to the right with one week old Merlin) was 22 weeks pregnant with her second child she discovered a lump in her breast, thought at the time to possibly be blocked milk duct as part of the pregnancy. Following medical examination the lump was discovered to be a 6.5cm cancerous tumour in her left breast on 18 June 2012.
She immediately began a course of chemotherapy at Tameside General Hospital on 28 June. The chemo was known as FEC (Fluorouracil (5FU), epirubicin andcyclophosphamide) and this continued up to the healthy birth of Merlin Ray in September 2012. Her progress was very good and the lump in her breast wasdescribed as barely palpable at a routine examination.
Due to her treatment she was unable to breastfeed Merlin as she had done with her first child Martha but thanks to the great work of Tameside General Hospital; donor breast milk was secured from the Countess of Chester Milk Bank and couriered to their house each week by the North West Blood Bikes Manchester.
After Merlin’s birth Mair began chemotherapy again, this time a single drug called Docetaxel (or Taxotere®) at The Christie, Manchester. The medication left her incredibly tired, nauseous and requiring long periods of bed rest despite having a new born baby. A lot of help was needed and family, friends and their community rallied around them to offer practical help. During this time Mair had begun to suffer from migraines for the first time.
Following her seventh chemotherapy session, Mair became very unwell and was admitted to hospital in November with severe migraines, dehydration, sickness and blurred vision. Upon investigation it was discovered that the cancer had spread to the meninges lining of the brain and was untreatable given its accelerated growth and her poor state of health. She had metastatic breast cancer.
She was transferred to Willow Wood Hospice, Ashton and after three days she passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on 6 December 2012. At the time Merlin was just 10 weeks old and her daughter Martha three. Mair was just 41.
Throughout this terrible ordeal that Mair and her family went through, they received excellent care from the staff at Tameside Hospital and also from a number of amazing charities including North West Blood Bikes Manchester, Countess of Chester Human Milk Bank, Macmillan, The Christie, Blyth House and Willow Wood Hospice.