Positive attitude inspires family

Cancer sufferer strong till her last day

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 12:00 20/12/2013
Cancer sufferer
MURRAY WILSON/ Fairfax NZ
FOND MEMORIES: Cheryl Baty, who spoke about her terminal cancer diagnosis for Daffodil Day in August, has died.

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Cheryl Baty spoke of sheer stubbornness and determination as she fought to overcome a terminal cancer diagnosis.

She wore that positive attitude until her dying day, inspiring her family members and showing a side of herself they didn't know existed.

Formerly of Palmerston North, Mrs Baty died peacefully at the Arohanui Hospice on Wednesday after a lengthy battle with aggressive stem-cell cancer.

She spoke to the Manawatu Standard in August for the Daffodil Day appeal and said she refused to accept any type of early death sentence.

Her remaining relatives, daughter Elizabeth Baty and sister Pauline Schwabe, said her choice to speak out about her cancer for the non-profit appeal meant a lot to her.

Ms Baty said her mother was told in September her brain tumours had multiplied after treatment earlier in the year.

"She had a seizure at home and that's how she found that out," Ms Baty said.

"She had radiation at the start of the year and her brain got the all-clear, then she had the seizure and that's when they found the tumours had come back - that was at the end of September."

Ms Baty said her mother desperately wanted to go to Rarotonga and was given a two-week clearance by her doctor.

"We scrambled around and organised a trip for her mid-October and when she got back she slowly deteriorated," she said.

"She was really confused, her memory was quite bad and she started seeing things that weren't there.

"The past couple of weeks she was definitely more tired and going into deep sleeps."

Ms Baty said her mother always put others before herself and when it became too difficult at home she was happy to go into care.

"I rung the hospice on Tuesday to say I couldn't really look after her myself any more.

"She was only in there just over 12 hours and she passed away," she said.

"It was really peaceful and I don't think she knew what was happening, and she wasn't in any pain."

Ms Schwabe said her sister's attitude towards her cancer never changed, and life would never be the same without her.

"She was still going out to cafes and having meals out up until last Thursday.

"She was determined and never gave up, and she still thought she was going to beat it," she said.

"I found her really amazing to have that inner strength that I didn't know existed."

Ms Schwabe said her sister left her and Ms Baty feeling that they could cope with anything in life.

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"But life will never be the same without her - I've lost my last family member from that side of the family - she touched my life even though she didn't think she did," she said.

A ceremony for family and friends will be held at the Beauchamp Funeral Home in Palmerston North at 3pm tomorrow.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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