BRAVE Helen Mayers had suffered with kidney problems since she was nine years old and dealt with the crushing blow of two failed transplant operations.
Her first took place when she was 11, shortly after being whisked off to Disneyland Paris courtesy of the Pioneer’s Miles of Smiles charity.
She underwent the four-hour operation at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Her mum Eileen recalls: “She was meant to be in for three months, but she was in for just two weeks and was literally up on her feet the next day.”
Unfortunately Helen’s new kidney failed after three years, and she underwent a second transplant operation aged 18.
In November 2003, she had major complications with her blood levels and doctors feared the worst.
However, Helen’s fighting spirit shone through and she survived after surgeons inserted a graft on her right arm.
Unfortunately in 2004, she suffered another major setback when her second new kidney also failed.
A year later Helen had to start using a wheelchair because of her health problems, although she remained determined to walk, and then in 2007 she lost her sight.
“She was devastated”, said Eileen. “The doctors were dumbfounded. They’d never known anyone go blind on dialysis.
“But she carried on, it didn’t keep her down. She never let anything keep her down.
“She started listening to stories and films on her MP3 and she learned braille. She was amazing.”
In 2008 a fundraising night was held at St Saviour’s Social Club in Great Sutton to help buy Helen a talking computer.
The event raised £1,500 and after buying the special computer for £900 the family donated the rest of the money to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd.
Last summer Helen’s health took another near fatal turn for the worst when her bowel started bleeding, but yet again her fighting spirit pulled her through.
She had to have her bowel removed and needed a total of 18 pints of blood.
After enjoying Christmas at home with her family, Helen spent a week in hospital earlier this year before she finally lost her long and courageous battle against illness last month due to organ failure.