AN inspirational cancer patient who defied doctors’ predictions has lost her fight for life, aged just 29.
Two-and-a half years ago, Kelly Bainbridge-Flor was given just a week to live after a cancer she thought she’d beaten returned in her brain.
But Kelly, of Moorside, went on to amaze everyone with her strength and will to survive.
Just hours after watching the fireworks at St Benedict’s Hospice, Ryhope, and toasting 2014 with her husband Dino Flor she died surrounded by her family.
“Kelly had an unusual type of strength,” Dino, 33, told the Echo today. “When you hear about people with cancer it’s always defined as a battle between the person and the cancer.
“Some give up that battle, which is fair enough, that’s what I’d do as I wasn’t as strong as Kelly. But hers was a real battle with a capital B. She was like a warrior, even though she knew what the final outcome would be.”
He added: “The day before she died, December 31, Kelly was the sharpest I have seen her in a long time. She sat with me in bed and saw the fireworks. I’m so happy she saw that.”
Though Kelly knew she would not be able to beat the rare inoperable cancer, she was determined to live her life to the full despite suffering crippling pain.
She married her sweetheart, Dino, at an emotional ceremony at St Paul’s Church, Ryhope, and created a “bucket list” of trips she wanted to take before her final days.
Nine months ago, the cancer took its toll and she moved to the hospice permanently where Dino and her family remained at her side.
The former Farringdon School pupil’s fight began four years ago after she had moved to the island of Madeira, near the Canary Islands.
She was enjoying the new chapter in her life and met husband-to-be Dino. But her new life in the sun came to a dramatic halt when she noticed a lump in her breast. Aged 25, Kelly, was one of the youngest women in the region to be diagnosed with breast cancer and she returned to her home town of Sunderland for treatment.
Despite her own struggle, Kelly channelled her grief to create a Facebook group, playfully called Hot Baldies, to inspire women going through cancer treatment to embrace losing their hair.
Speaking to the Echo at the time, she said: “I might have cancer, but I don’t want it to get the better of me and take over my life. If I can help one person, it will be worthwhile.”
Though the cancer, at that time, was in one breast she took the brave decision to have her healthy breast removed also in a bid to try and reduce the chances of cancer returning.
Once she had completed her treatment she returned to a normal life, only to be told in July 2011 that she had developed secondary cancer in her brain.
Dino said: “I would like to thank everyone, all the doctors and nurses, at St Benedict’s Hospice for helping Kelly. It became a second home for us.”