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Gallery: Kerry Thorpe family’s pride at her bravery and inspiration after losing cystic fibrosis battle

12:06 27 March 2014

Kerry Thorpe

Kerry Thorpe

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Our brave girl did everything she could to fight for life and we are incredibly proud of her for that.

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Those were the words from the family of Kerry Thorpe, who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis on Friday, just four days after her 23rd birthday.

She died at Papworth Hospital with her loving family, fiance Josh Nelli and beloved dogs Tinkerbell and Millie-Mia by her side.

Her mum Jacqui Brett, 41, from Ipswich, described her eldest daughter as “clever, witty and funny”.

“She was intelligent but knew her own mind,” she said. “She didn’t want the cystic fibrosis to win. She was a fighter and never gave up, even at the end.”

Stepdad Matthew Brett, 33, added: “She was brave and inspirational.”

Dad Gary Thorpe, 43, recalling Kerry’s diagnosis aged just four months, said: “We had a call to say they had found something wrong and then learned it was cystic fibrosis.

“We went to Ipswich Hospital and they gave us the full run down. We were completely devastated.”

Up to the age of 12, the former Rose Hill Primary and Copleston High School pupil was rarely in hospital until she was diagnosed with diabetes.

“That was when things started to become a bit more hospitalised and more intense,” Jacqui said. “She took her GCSEs in hospital and Copleston were amazing in arranging her A-levels to be taken at home.”

She added: “From the age of 11, she already knew she might die. She would ask all the time ‘do you reckon I’ll live to 30?’ and we were very honest and never hid anything from her.”

When Kerry turned 16 she was transferred from Ipswich Hospital to Papworth Hospital.

Josh, 26, from Kesgrave, said Kerry responded to the “gentler touch” with her care, adding: “The gentler people were, the more she responded and became more open with them.

“Kerry would do things her own way. She would still accept the medication but she knew her body better than anybody.”

One of Kerry’s major obstacles was her weight. She couldn’t be listed for a double lung transplant unless she gained at least two stone.

Josh said: “It took her a good year and it didn’t come quickly but we were all so proud of her.

“She was listed for a transplant two years ago. The specialist gave her the option that she didn’t need to put up with her condition and that if she didn’t want to fight any more, they could make her comfortable.

“Those words spurred her on. Our goal was for her to get on that list and the sense of achievement was 
amazing. At that point she had done everything she could and it was out of her hands.”

Kerry, who won a Stars of Suffolk award, loved music, especially Ed Sheeran, and sport, particularly Andy Murray, family holidays, rollercoasters and her blog for which she had a “real skill”.

She also idolised her grandparents Margaret and Lenny Jay.

Sister Kimberley Thorpe, 21, who is seven months pregnant, said Kerry had huge pride when nephew Keaton was born.

She added: “I’m having a girl this time and Kerry was really happy when I told her.

“She said it gave her something to hang on for.”

Kerry and Josh enjoyed a whirlwind romance and got engaged after he proposed on Christmas Day 
2010 and the pair would have celebrated their fifth anniversary next month.

“Our first date was a walk down Felixstowe with her mum’s dog,” Josh said. “When we got together, we were inseparable.

“Within a month I met her family – that’s how quick it happened.”

Kerry’s other big love was for her dogs. “The dogs were our babies,” he added. “She loved them dearly and they were with her when she passed away.”

Jacqui said: “When she passed it was very quick and pain-free and we are really grateful for that.

“Her struggle to breathe had stopped. She was calm and content.”

Kerry’s funeral will be held on Wednesday, April 9, at 11.15am at Seven Hills Crematorium with the wake at Kesgrave Social Club in Edmonton Road.

Immediate family flowers only and extended family are welcome to bring a single flower to pay their respects at the end of the service.

All are welcome to attend. The dress code is traditional with a splash of colour.

Donations to The Kerry Alex Thorpe Trust on the day.

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