A BRAVE mum who dreams of watching her daughters grow up faces the biggest fight of her life after being diagnosed with cancer for the third time in 18 months.

Single mum-of-two Kirsty Mcdonald, from Orford, has been dealt another heart-wrenching blow after she was informed on Tuesday that her chemotherapy is palliative – the cancer is classed as terminal.

But the 26-year-old senior therapy assistant has refused to be beaten for the sake of her two young daughters Eva, five, and Ella, three, who mean everything to her.

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The former Penketh High School pupil said: “When I was told I had cancer for the first and second time I never even cried – I knew it was coming but this time I was blown away.

“I just kept saying ‘please don’t let me die I have two young kids to live for’. I was hysterical.”

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PICTURED: Kirsty with her two daughters 

In January 2017 Kirsty’s life was turned upside down when the results of her first routine smear test came back.

At the age of 24, the mum-of-two was battling cervical cancer.

The life-changing news meant Kirsty needed to have a full hysterectomy – shattering any dreams she may have had of getting pregnant again.

Defiant Kirsty refused to let cancer dictate her life but 10 months later, she was told the deadly disease had returned and she needed seven weeks of intense radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

In April she was given the all clear but this news was short-lived – just weeks later the cancer had returned and this time it was aggressive and had spread to her lymph nodes.

This caused yet more heartache as the cancer was now classed as secondary.

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PICTURED: Kirsty with her two daughters 

Kirsty started her chemotherapy this week but the sickening pain she will endure as part of the relentless treatment does not compare to the agonising fear she faces at the thought of not being able to hold her little girls’ hands as they grow up.

Her eldest daughter also needs 24-hour care after she was diagnosed at just 18 months old with epilepsy and Angelman syndrome – a genetic disorder that mainly affects the nervous system.

“I have found a strength in me that I didn’t even know I had,” said Kirsty, who decided to ‘take control of her life’ and shave off her hair before it fell out due to chemo. Her locks have been donated to the Little Princess Trust.

“I don’t just have myself to think about. Eva needs round the clock care and Ella is a little monkey.

“Some people have these unrealistic expectations, they want these big houses and flash cars.

“I was happy and satisfied with my life – all I want is to be able to look after my kids.

“There is nothing anyone could offer me in this world apart from watching my kids grow up.”

Over the past 18 months Kirsty has been juggling raising her two children, paying her bills and undergoing gruelling cancer treatment.

Due to the amount of time Kirsty has taken off work due to her previous treatment, she is not able to access any further sick pay from her employer and now faces losing her home while she tries to fight cancer for the third time.

Her house has also been adapted to make life easier for Eva as she grows up with a severe disability.

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PICTURED: Kirsty ahead of the head shave 

A fundraising page has been set up by Kirsty’s childhood friend Charlotte Brophy to provide financial relief to the mum-of-two as well as fund any further treatment outside of the NHS.

Charlotte, 28, even shaved off her own hair in support of Kirsty after the fundraising page reached £1,000 – a figure that was smashed within 20 minutes.

“On the first night when I shaved my hair off I went to help Kirsty with the kids,” said mum-of-two Charlotte.

“I was putting Ella to bed and she was asking me if mummy was poorly.

“There is only so much you can tell her as we want to protect her.

“But Ella turned to me and said ‘Charlie…we are going to win this aren’t we?’

“I had to fight back the tears. It just doesn’t seem fair.

“With everything she has been going through – to have cancer once is bad enough, twice is ridiculous and three times is cruel.

“Kirsty has been independent all her life – she is a home owner and a single mum.

“She has done it all by herself and she doesn’t ask anyone for anything so it’s hard for her. The response has been overwhelming.”

Kirsty is currently looking at ion-beam therapy at Heidlberg University Hospital in Germany if her current treatment is unsuccessful.

So far more than £12,000 has been raised with a target set at £40,000.

A family fun day has been organised on August 19, from 11am, on the field opposite Warrington Sports Club to raise funds for the treatment.

If every Warrington Guardian reader donated £1 Kirsty’s £40,000 target could be easily achieved.

To make a donation online click here or you can give a cash donation in to the Warrington Guardian’s reception by visiting our office at 240 Cygnet Court, Centre Park, Warrington, WA1 1PP.

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Pictured: Kirsty with her two daughters

AROUND 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year, according to figures by Cancer Research UK.

That is around nine cases that are diagnosed each day.
Kirsty Mcdonald has called for the age of cervical screening, more commonly known as the smear test, to be lowered.

“I was 24 when I was diagnosed with cancer,” said the 26-year-old, who had received a routine letter about her first smear test a couple of months before her 25th birthday. 

“The age should be lowered to 18 to make sure it is picked up early enough to be treated.”

Currently the NHS cervical screening programme invites women from the ages of 25 to 64 for cervical screening.

This test has been around since the 1980s and, while is not aimed at diagnosing cancer, it can detect abnormal cells that may turn into cancer if left untreated.

Kirsty has since stressed the importance of not forgetting to book the test.

Nearly 900 women lose their lives from the disease each year, but plenty still skip appointments despite the fact smear tests can prevent 75 per cent of cervical cancers.

She added: “I’ll admit it’s not the nicest thing in the world.

“I am such a prude and it’s my worst nightmare but in the bigger scheme of things what’s two minutes of lying on a bed if it saves your life.”