THE family of an inspirational cancer patient, who was told she had months to live in 2008, hope to continue her legacy after she died aged 34.
Claire Shirtliff was diagnosed with an incurable grade IV brain tumour after a bout of headaches just months before she was due to get married.
The primary school teacher, from Wakefield, defied the doctors, got married and did five charity runs following her diagnosis, raising thousands of pounds for good causes.
Four years ago, Claire’s husband-to-be Michael took her to hospital after she began to feel unwell at work and within days she was on the operating table and facing months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Michael, 30, said: “It was just everything was so sudden, she was fine, she had headaches for four to six weeks and we thought they were migraines.”
Defiant Claire, driven on by her wedding plans, moved her honeymoon from Mexico to Cornwall, and walked down the aisle soon after.
Michael said: “She wanted to have kids and foster and not being able to do either – that was difficult.”
Claire ran the Race for Life three times and the Jane Tomlinson Leeds 10k twice.
Her father Neil Pretty, 59, said: “When she started to train for the Race for Life there was just this regeneration in her.”
Claire’s symptoms returned last year and she had a seizure, was rushed to hospital and had most of the tumour removed.
Following treatment, Claire went on her last holiday with Michael in Portugal in June but by August, her condition had deteriorated and she spent her last weeks in the Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract.
She passed away in the hospice on October 21 and her funeral is being held tomorrow.
Michael added: “She enjoyed the good times and even when we picked some old pictures out she said, ‘remember us when we were dancing and having a couple of drinks’.”
Her family are hoping to set up a fund in Claire’s memory in aid of brain tumour research.