Suffolk woman who had two liver transplants and was 'full of life' died suddenly of sepsis

Yvonne Norcott

Rachel Norcott, who died in August this year, would have been a "great mum" according to her fiancé Mike - Credit: Yvonne Norcott

A caring Saxmundham woman who survived two liver transplants by the age of 26 and died "out of the blue" from sepsis has been remembered by loved ones as someone who would always put others before herself.

Rachel Norcott sadly died aged 33 in August, suffering a cardiac arrest outside King's College Hospital after contracting sepsis.

Yvonne Norcott

Rachel and her nephews - Credit: Yvonne Norcott

When faced with a challenge, Rachel "just dealt with it" according to her mother Yvonne. "She'd never sit and feel sorry about herself, it was all about other people."

At the age of three Rachel contracted Hepatitis-A and became so ill that she needed a liver transplant.

"She ended up in a coma and they needed a liver, they gave her twelve hours to live," said Yvonne.

Rachel Norcott

Rachel was a very family-oriented person and loved children - Credit: Yvonne Norcott

"We were up all night saying goodbye to her because they told us they couldn't get a liver."

Then almost at the last moment a liver from an 18-year-old girl in Sweden who died in a car accident was flown over and the transplant was done immediately.

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She was so ill and young, they didn't know if it would work, but within 24 hours she began to recover.

For the next 23 years "things were fine", until at the age of 26 Rachel started feeling quite ill and all of the signs were there again.

The family was "floored" when they were told she needed another liver.

Yvonne Norcott

Rachel met Mike on a night out while dressed in a 'cat outfit', he told her she had 'nice ears' - Credit: Yvonne Norcott

Despite being scared, when a liver was found Rachel had the transplant the next day and was out of the hospital within two weeks.

Rachel's fiancé, Mike Weldon, recalls the first thing she said to him after the surgery was asking how he was.

He added that very quickly she was asking to be let out of the hospital so someone else could have her bed.

Rachel would spend a lot of her free time watching her favourite Disney films like Little Mermaid and Peter Pan, reading Martina Cole books or spending time with her nephews which she loved dearly.

Yvonne said her daughter was "the only person that enjoyed lockdown".

At the start of a week in August, at the age of 33, Rachel began to feel ill but this was attributed to her not taking her stomach settling tablets.

Despite feeling a bit better mid week, by Friday things were much worse and Mike drove her to the hospital.

At around 10.30pm Yvonne received a phone call from Mike saying Rachel had a massive cardiac arrest in the car park of King's College Hospital and died.

Yvonne had told her daughter that she would see her soon and that she loved her earlier in the week, she had even messaged her on the day she died.

She said: "To die of sepsis is unbelievable.

"Even now I still think she's coming home, I don't think she's dead."

Yvonne Norcott

Rachel would always put people before herself given the opportunity - Credit: Yvonne Norcott

Every week now Yvonne writes to Rachel on her Facebook page to tell her what the family has been up to.

According to the NHS sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection, which happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body's own tissues and organs.

Mike said on the drive down to the hospital, true to her character, she didn't want to ring her mum because she didn't want to worry her.

When she noticed Mike was worried, she started comforting him by rubbing his back.

"That's her in a nutshell," he said.

"She didn't care how bad she was if she could help someone else."

They had planned to go away to somewhere snowy for the winter and had plans to spend Christmas with Mike's family this year.

Mike was with Rachel for seven years after meeting on a night out in Croydon. Reflecting on the last few years, he said: "One moment she was going through a life changing operation the next moment there's a life changing virus. It was sort of putting pauses on our overall plan, but being together was still perfect.

"As long as we had each other we were happy."

He misses their night chats and Facetimes, as they always made sure they made time to say goodnight to each other.

Rachel had six nephews, but didn't get to see the newest one.

Mike said she would treat the boys like she was the mother of them.

He added: "We were trying to get a place we could settle down and have kids.

"She'd have been a great mum."

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