A heartbroken mum has paid tribute to her “brave and fun-loving” daughter who has died following a long battle with cervical cancer.
Toni Parkinson, from Farnley in Leeds, was 25 when she lost her battle with the disease on December 3, leaving behind three young children.
The single mum was diagnosed with cancer in June 2009, when her youngest son Harvey, now five, was still a baby.
She also leaves behind her eldest son Brandon, nine, and her daughter Sophie, six.
Toni was first featured in the YEP in 2010 after the community rallied round to raise funds to support her three children following her diagnosis.
Her mum Lynn said: “Before she was diagnosed, Toni was fun-loving – she was always out and about with her friends.
“She was a bubbly person and she was a good mum. She loved her kids very much.
“Throughout her illness, she was very brave. She wanted to make sure the kids were looked after and she was incredibly strong in her final days.
“The kids are obviously devastated but I think because we have such a large family, together we’re coping. We’ve got a big support network as we’re a very close family.
“The fundraising efforts that people went to when Toni was ill really touched us.”
Toni’s death echoes the fate of TV personality Jade Goody, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in August 2008 and passed away in March 2009.
The mum-of-two was just 27 when she died, and her death led to a rise in women requesting cervical cancer screenings.
Jessica Harris, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Cervical screening is a great way of preventing cervical cancer from developing, as it picks up early changes that could develop into cancer if left untreated.
“But whether or not you have had cervical screening, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, tell your doctor.
“It may well be caused by something much less serious than cancer, but it’s a good idea to get it checked out anyway.”
Toni’s funeral is being held at 1.30pm on Thursday (Dec 13) at Hill Top Cemetery.
Mourners are welcome to attend but are asked not to wear black at Toni’s request.