HELP my mam’s dying words save lives.
That is the message from brave 14-year-old Tia Redpath, of Grindon, whose mother Sharon died from cancer on March 13 last year, aged 46.
She wrote a journal, called Big Girls Don’t Cry, which tracked her battle with the illness, through her mastectomy to plans for breast reconstruction.
Now Tia wants to get her mam’s message out there to help other women living with cancer.
The teenager, a pupil at Sandhill View Academy, said: “It gives people who have cancer some help.
“My mam worked so hard trying to type it up when she was bad and if nothing came of it, it would just feel like a waste and worthless.
“All I know is that every time I came home she would be upstairs typing away.
“She wanted people to know that you can be strong and not to give up, it was so important to her.”
Sharon was given a mastectomy, but when a pain returned in her shoulder, doctors discovered the cancer had come back.
A new round of chemotherapy began, but her heart was not strong enough to cope with the treatment.
Although Sharon approached some publishers when she was alive, she had no success in getting the journal published.
“I would love to get it out there,” said Tia.
“It’s something for me to read when I’m older and to know that a part of her is still here.”
Tia, who lives with her 83-year-old grandmother, Anne Redpath, said that although she is coping since her mum’s death, her mum’s impending birthday is upsetting for the family.
“It’s hard because it’s her birthday on Friday. I don’t know if we are going to celebrate it or not.”
Coleen Watson, Sharon’s sister, has praised her young niece.
The 52-year-old said: “It’s really good that Tia is trying to get is published so that other people can read it and, hopefully, get help and comfort from it.”
“We have had nurses and doctors read the journal and they all agree that it should be published.