Poster girl for cancer charity dies: Sophie, 21, campaigned to warn others after doctors said she was 'too young' to get the diseaseSophie Cutts became cancer charity ambassador before her death to warn others that disease can strike at any ageThought she had undergone successful mastectomy and chemotherapyBut months later doctors found a secondary tumour on her brainFamily want to fulfil her final wish by raising awareness among young people
21:54 GMT, 1 October 2012
The parents of a young woman who died of breast cancer aged 21 are carrying on their daughter’s message that the disease can strike at any age.
Sophie Cutts, from Skelton, Cleveland, lost her nine-month battle with breast cancer on September 14.
Initially doctors reassured her family that she was ‘too young’ for breast cancer, but was later diagnosed with the disease and underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy treatment and had lymph nodes removed.
'Special to so many people': Sophie Cutts died from breast cancer aged 21 after doctors reassured her family that she was 'too young' for breast cancer
Before her death, Sophie became an ambassador for a cancer charity warning others that the disease could develop at any time.
Now her family are fulfilling her final wish by raising awareness of the disease among young people.
was looking forward to a career as a traditional screen printer after
showing exceptional talent as a textiles design student at Heriot-Watt
University in Galashiels.
was chosen as a poster girl for the Cleveland College of Art and Design
following her successful training there and she was also planning a
idyllic life in the country with devoted partner Paul Thompson, 24.
mum Tracy 48, said despite the tragic diagnosis, her daughter had 'no
regrets' and felt lucky to have enjoyed the time she had with her
beloved family, including dad Craig, 49, brother Jake, 17, and Paul.
Talented student: Sophie was chosen as a poster girl for the Cleveland College of Art and Design following her successful training there
She also thanked her parents 'for
everything they had done for her' in the final hours before she slipped
peacefully away in hospital.
Her mum and dad said they feel 'proud' to have had her in their lives.
And they are determined her legacy will live on – by warning others that breast cancer can strike at any age.
said: 'Sophie is so special to so many people. Everyone was looking
forward to seeing her go on and make a success of her life.
who met her felt as if they’d known her all their lives and would say
what an amazing person she was. She was definitely unique.
think she was on course for a first class degree and from January, she
had to work from home as well, which is all the more remarkable.
'Her grades didn’t suffer. She is the organiser of the family. We will be lost without her.'
Getting the message across: Sophie, pictured with boyfriend Paul Thompson, became an ambassador for a cancer charity before her death to warn others the disease could develop at any time
Spreading the word: Sophie's family including (l-r) her brother Jacob, father Craig, mother Tracy and boyfriend Paul Thompson now want fulfil her final wish by raising awareness of the disease among young people
After finding a lump in her breast in January, Sophie had tests and mastitis, inflammation of the breast tissue, was ruled out.
and Tracy, who herself is in partial remission from non Hodgkins
Lymphoma, praised GPs for quickly referring Sophie to hospital – even as
they tried to reassure them she was 'too young' to have breast cancer.
Sophie was quickly diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and the removal of lymph nodes.
Following treatment, Sophie’s tests came back all clear, leading the family to believe her ordeal was over.
Days before her mastectomy, Sophie completed the Race For Life at Ormesby Hall, raising almost £400.
The same day, she began planning a charity walk in Peru next year.
she lost her hair and visited the Holistic Cancer Care Centre at James
Cook University Hospital, she also vowed to use her creative talents to
print bespoke scarves to sell and raise funds to help other sufferers.
also was passionate to warn other young people about the disease and
visited her old school Huntcliff, in Saltburn – and others – to warn
teenage girls to be vigilant against breast cancer.
Devoted: Sophie was planning an idyllic life in the country with 24-year-old Paul
Sadly, however, in July, Sophie suffered a fit and doctors found she had a secondary cancer on her brain.
A month before she passed away, the family also learned the cancer had spread to her liver.
a special needs teaching and learning assistant, said: 'She got
contacted by the charity CoppaFeel, started by a girl who was
misdiagnosed for six to eight months.
asked if she would be an ambassador and go to schools when she was
stronger and say to young girls, ‘don’t let someone tell you you’re too
She really wanted to do it, but was too ill.
Craig, a chartered mechanical engineer, added: 'It showed how much she meant to such a lot of people at her funeral. Emmanuel Church, in Saltburn is quite big but it was absolutely jam-packed.'
'That’s what everyone has said about
Sophie. ‘But you’re too young, you shouldn’t have this’. Now, the
medical profession has got to say you don’t just get cancer in your
thirties, forties, fifties and sixties; you can get cancer any time'.
said birthdays and Christmases will not be the same without Sophie’s
parties and use of her creative talents to make bespoke gifts –
something Tracy says she did with genuine 'love and affection for
Sophie loved to travel and most recently enjoyed trips to Paris and Berlin.
poem was read out at her funeral which said: 'Don’t think of her as
gone away, her journey has just begun. Life holds many faces, the earth
is only one.'
And it also includes the line: 'Nothing loved is ever lost'.
Her family say they have many happy memories to keep Sophie alive in their hearts and that she is missed by many young cousins, aunties and uncles.
At the end of August, Sophie went on a family trip to Cornwall, where she wrote of her wishes.
Tracy said: 'We have a photo of her writing a message about her wishes on a mural at Land’s End. At that time, we thought we were still in the battle. There was a positiveness to it.'
Tracy and Craig praised family and friends who rallied round to organise catering for Sophie’s funeral and the wonderful church service in her honour.
They also praised staff at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and the Holistic Cancer Care Centre on the same site.
Craig said: 'She wouldn’t have had better treatment anywhere. They were amazing and couldn’t do enough for Sophie and us.'