'Don't cry for me… I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to': Mother-of-two leaves heartbreaking final message after losing cancer battle age 46

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  • Mother of two Kate Rackham wrote a message to announce her own death 

A mother-of-two who openly shared her battle with cancer left a heartbreaking final message after her death on Wednesday. 

Kate Rackham, who was diagnosed with incurable oestrogen-receptive breast cancer at the age of 39, tweeted: ‘If you’re reading this, I have died but do not cry for me.’ 

The 46-year-old teacher from Morecambe, Lancashire, went on to say ‘I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to’ following a seven year battle with the disease. 

During her illness she shared updates with her 22,000 followers and helped to set up the Fighting to be Heard charity to raise awareness about incurable cancers. 

She is survived by her husband Mark and her two children, Nancy, nine, and Ruby, 11.

Her agonising final message yesterday morning read: ‘If you’re reading this, it means I have died.

Mother-of-two Kate Rackham wrote a heartbreaking final message to announce her own death.

Mother-of-two Kate Rackham wrote a heartbreaking final message to announce her own death.

Kate is survived by her husband Mark and her two children, Nancy, nine, and Ruby, 11

Kate is survived by her husband Mark and her two children, Nancy, nine, and Ruby, 11

Mrs Rackham was diagnosed with incurable oestrogen-receptive breast cancer at the age of 39

Mrs Rackham was diagnosed with incurable oestrogen-receptive breast cancer at the age of 39

In her final post she wrote 'If you're reading this, I have died but do not cry for me. I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to'

In her final post she wrote ‘If you’re reading this, I have died but do not cry for me. I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to’

‘But do not cry for me. I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to.

‘I joined X because I needed an outlet, what I got was so much more.

‘You made me feel validated in my feelings and much less alone. Thank you.’ 

Her husband Mark Rackham announced her death on social media, writing: ‘I am incredibly sad to have to tell you all that Kate died yesterday around 1.25pm.

‘She was peaceful at the end and as per her wishes she was surrounded by me, her sister Caroline, her mum Christine, my mum Angela and Rev Huw performing Last Rites prayers. Brian, her stepdad, rushed off to get Ruby and Nancy who arrived moments after she had gone to say goodbye.

‘She wanted to say that she lived her life exactly how she wanted to, and had done and achieved almost everything that she aimed for. From her, me and the rest of the family thank you all for your continued loving support.’

Her brother-in-law, Carl Rackham, added that Kate was ‘the most incredibly selfless and courageous woman I have ever met’. 

‘If I was only half the person she was and only did half the selfless things that she bravely did with her life I would be happy in the knowledge that I had made a positive impact on the world, but Kate went above and beyond in all of that always thinking of others before herself,’ he wrote.

Kate was a Year 3 teacher at St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Reddish. Paying tribute to her, the school released a statement that recognised her ‘remarkable fight’ against the disease.

It read: ‘Kate put up a remarkable fight against cancer, defying all the medical prognosis and fought right until the end. I saw Kate last week, who remained determined and in positive spirits, as always.

Kate's husband Mark, who owns a pub in Manchester, said his wife 'lived her life exactly how she wanted to'

Kate’s husband Mark, who owns a pub in Manchester, said his wife ‘lived her life exactly how she wanted to’

Tragically, Kate's two daughters did not arrive in time to say a final goodbye to their mother when she died on Wednesday

Tragically, Kate’s two daughters did not arrive in time to say a final goodbye to their mother when she died on Wednesday

Kate's husband Mark shared a photo of his wife and thanked her followers for their support

Kate’s husband Mark shared a photo of his wife and thanked her followers for their support

Kate Rackham died aged 46 on Wednesday - and is survived by her husband Mark and daughters Nancy (right) and Ruby (left)

Kate Rackham died aged 46 on Wednesday – and is survived by her husband Mark and daughters Nancy (right) and Ruby (left)

Thousands of tributes have poured in on social media since her death was announced. She helped to set up the Fighting to be Heard charity to raise awareness about the condition

Thousands of tributes have poured in on social media since her death was announced. She helped to set up the Fighting to be Heard charity to raise awareness about the condition

‘Staff are understandably devastated and we know that many of our families and children will be too.

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‘We have arranged to speak to the children on Monday with Father Damien and some bereavement counsellors present, should any children get upset. You may also want to discuss this with your child at home.

‘I know that Kate was overwhelmed by the support that she received from our families for the staff sponsored walk back in March and I want to thank you for that.’

Her husband, who owns The Barking Dog pub in Urmston, Manchester, also thanked his staff for ‘keeping the pub in tip top shape’ while he has been caring for Kate for the past few months.

Friend Lauren Zawadzki said: ‘I’m absolutely devastated that my friend Kate Rackham has made her way to dance with the stars in the sky. 

‘Kate is an inspiration to all and I know that she lives on in her beautiful girls and husband Mark. Despite everything her smile, love for music and dancing came first and she was an absolute joy to be around.’

Kate was first diagnosed with stage 3 oestrogen-receptive invasive ductal carcinoma in 2016 and underwent surgery to remove a 6.5cm tumour from her left breast.

However, subsequent tests showed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and ‘I had every treatment thrown at me,’ she says — this meant a mastectomy, removal of lymph nodes, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, ‘which was gruelling, like having the worst hangover and flu simultaneously’.

But soon after Kate’s cancer came back, recurring in her bones and liver. 

She previously told the BBC her diagnosis came as a ‘massive shock’ and spoke of her ‘massive’ struggles with hair loss while going through chemotherapy.

‘It’s really hard losing your hair. It’s not just losing your hair, it’s losing your eyelashes and eyebrows as well,’ she told BBC Radio 5 Live.

She last gave an update on her health on June 7 in which she apologised for the 'lack of communication'

She last gave an update on her health on June 7 in which she apologised for the ‘lack of communication’

‘That’s the difference between looking like you are rocking a bald head and looking like you are on chemotherapy.’

She last shared a health update on June 7 in which she apologised for her ‘lack of communication recently’.  

‘And then hearing the words, ‘there is nothing more we can do’,’ she wrote. ‘I needed a bit of time.’

She added: ‘I’m now home, where I want to be. With Mark [her husband] and the girls. Surrounded by love, family and friends. Everyone is rallying around and I have so much support. Despite everything I feel blessed.’

Kate previously told her social media followers how she feared she would never see her children start secondary school.

Sharing a picture of her two daughters on their first day of the school year in September, the campaigner said she was ‘very glad to be half way there!’ after her oldest began year seven.

Thousands of tributes have poured in on social media since her death was announced including from Nicola Nuttall, whose daughter Laura died of brain cancer at the age of 23.

She wrote: ‘Heartbroken that we’ve lost this truly incredible woman. 

‘Kate really knew how to live, she wanted to come up Pendle but wouldn’t wait for better weather because she knew better than anyone the value of a single day. We nearly got blown off but it was brilliant, so glad we met.’

Friend Kathryn Orr said: ‘I can’t find the right words right now apart from Kate was remarkable in every way. She gave everything to life and all she loved.

‘I loved her and I will miss her so very much.

‘There aren’t many people in life that are loved beyond measure. Kate was.’

The charity she helped found, Fighting to be Heard Foundation, released a statement which read: ‘It is with overwhelming sadness we share our founder and trustee Kate Rackham passing.

‘Today, we are sharing her husband Mark Rackham post while we try and find words that are fitting for our remarkable Kate, its so very difficult to convey what she meant to us all and the community she served selflessly.

‘Today we are spending time to reflect and cherish our memories and how very fortunate we all were to have her in our lives.

‘We are sending all our love to Mark, Caroline, her Mum, Brian, the girls and all of her family and friends.’

Former Olympian Sharron Davies wrote: ‘Sad to read this, looks like a wonderful young woman. I lost one of my best friends to breast cancer over ten years ago. We must do more. Be vigilant. Keep checking.’