A mum whose dying wish was to see her daughter go to secondary school has lost her cancer fight just months before the start of term.
Michelle Hull-Bailey, 30, who bravely battled lymphoma since 2011, died peacefully at Ashgate Hospice on Monday.
Her sister and best friend, Louise Hull-Bailey, 31, kept vigil at her bedside during her last days and paid tribute to the doting, smiley mum who ‘made everyone laugh’.
She said: “She was a gentle soul. All her life she just wanted to be loved, she wanted to get married. But now I can’t believe she has gone.
“We were supposed to grow old together. We have been inseparable all our lives. Now I just feel very alone. I just want her back.”
Michelle, one of seven children, leaves behind her daughter, Leah, 11.
Wiping away tears, Louise recalls the last time Michelle and her beloved daughter saw each other.
“It was the day before she died, and she had been very weak, but when Leah walked in she reached out to give her a kiss.
“That must have taken so much effort, but she did it for Leah.
“Then she said ‘just do the best you can’, and they were the last words she said to her.”
Leah, who will start at St Mary’s Catholic School in September, enjoyed a holiday to Mexico with her mum and dad just weeks before Michelle’s death, following a fundraising appeal to raise money for them to make memories.
But the day they returned home, Michelle was taken to Sheffield’s Hallamshire hospital with stomach pain. From there she was sent to Chesterfield Royal Hospital for a blood tranfusion, before going to Ashgate Hospice for her last four weeks.
“She was very comfortable at Ashgate,” said Louise. “But she was scared. She was agitated. She told me not to leave her, and I didn’t.
“She wanted to die at home, but she needed to be able to get pain relief quickly.”
A former Lady Manners pupil, Michelle was brought up in Cressbrook Dale, but moved to Chesterfield where she lived on Derby Road.
After being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2011, Michelle underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery to help fight the disease, but the cancer didn’t go away, and spread to her stomach, spleen, chest, neck and lungs.
“She was so brave,” added Louise. “She wanted the absolute best for Leah, so she wouldn’t miss a day’s work. She would go to chemo and then go straight back into work.
“She would always say she felt better than she did, to stop us worrying. She was an amazing person.”
Send your tributes to Michelle to firstname.lastname@example.org. Michelle’s funeral details will be in next week’s paper.