A grieving mum is urging women not to skip their smear tests after watching her girlfriend die from cervical cancer.
Claire Stechley has today paid a hear-breaking tribute to her ‘soulmate’ Lindsey Bratherton after she lost her three-year battle against the disease at the age of just 35.
Brave Lindsey seemed to be on the road to recovery after first being diagnosed in 2017.
But the family then received the devastating news that the cancer had returned and spread throughout her body.
Claire and her 20-year-old Brandon were by Lindsey’s bedside when she slipped away last month.
Speaking to CheshireLive about the ordeal, Claire, who had been with Lindsey for six years, said: “She was full of life. When she got diagnosed, she never gave up at all.
“At the end of February just gone, she got given the all-clear – the cancer was non-active apparently – and then eight weeks after we got told it had spread all over her body and then so many weeks after that she died.
“How she went through what she did I don’t know. She’s the strongest person I’ve ever known in my life. I couldn’t have gone through what she did, it was horrific, horrific, but she’s not suffering now.”
Claire described Lindsey as the perfect family person.
She added: “She just loved me and the kids. She was a very homely person. Before this she worked, she’d never had a day off work in her life.
“She’d worked at loads of places – she was a manager at Enviroskip, she worked at Siemens, she was a delivery driver at Dominoes. She was never, ever out of work.”
Claire and Lindsey have talked publicly about Lindsey’s illness over the past couple of years.
Now Claire is hoping some good will come out of her tragic loss if women go for smear tests.
She said Lindsey hadn’t been for a test for several years and when she did, because something was wrong, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer straight away.
“When she got diagnosed it helped loads of people because they were petrified of going for a smear test,” said Claire.
“If she’d only had a smear test we would have known, but she didn’t.
“Then I just got random messages off people saying I’ve read your story, thank you, I’ve booked myself in for a smear test. It’s helped loads of people.”
She added: “I would say 100 per cent, a million per cent, you’ve got to go for a smear test.
“I would just push people to have smear tests, you’ve got to. It just takes five minutes out of your life, that’s it, and it can save your life. If she’d have only done that, she’d still be here.”
Claire is now spending time with her three children – Brandon, nine-year-old Destiny and Savannah, who is six.
She added: “Brandon was an absolute star. He was with me when she died, when she took her last breath. The children have been through it for three years as well, and watched her deteriorate. It was horrible. The children are broken.”
Lindsey and Claire’s friend, Gemma Hodgkinson, have set up a justgiving page to help pay for Lindsey’s last wish – a headstone on her grave so Claire and the children had somewhere to go and visit her.
They are looking to raise at least £5,000 for the funeral with £3,000 pledged so far.
On the Justgiving page which was set up days before Lindsey lost her fight, Gemma wrote: “During Lindsey’s illness Claire has been unable to work as she has been Lindsey’s full time care giver now as a result of this money is extremely sparse. They are now facing losing Lindsey at the young age of 35.
“The added stress of paying for funeral and headstone is laying heavy on the shoulders of their family.”
- To donate please visit the justgiving page here.