Sarah Emmott's family pay tribute to their 'totally selfless' little girl following her death

The parents of Sarah Emmott have paid tribute to a "totally selfless" little girl who always had a smile on her face, following her death last week.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:45 am

The schoolgirl received a kidney transplant last year after a high-profile campaign.

But earlier this month she was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, which led to her death on Thursday (September 9).

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Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips with Sarah Emmott.

Her mum, Ellie, 49, said: "She was extraordinary, she had this special charm about her that just captivated everybody and was totally selfless.

"She had a lot of time in hospital over the years - clearly in a lot of pain and discomfort - but if she saw someone with a little plaster or a bruise, she was straight in there wanting to help them.

"She didn't think of herself, which used to pain me because she deserved to feel sorry for herself."

Sarah Emmott in her Leeds United shirt.

Sarah's transplant offered some hope, even if Ellie and husband Andy, 52, knew the journey was never likely to be smooth with the health problems she faced.

Ellie said Sarah had been "hit with one thing after another" since the operation, with the drugs that were necessary to suppress her immune system meaning she would often get ill.

The family, including big brother Dane, 17, are from Leeds but now live in Tadcaster.

Sarah always had a big smile on her face.

Ellie said: "We've always been blown away by what Leeds United have done for us.

"Kalvin is so empathic and a true gentleman - he does it because he wants to.

"She really captured his heart when they met and they stayed in touch - she called him 'her footballer'."

Phillips paid tribute to Sarah on social media following Sarah's death, writing: "You touched my heart more than you will ever know. I’m so thankful to have met you, your amazing Mum and Dad and your brother Dane as you all became a very special part of my life.

"Your braveness and determination to be the happiest little girl in the room despite everything you were going through is something I will never forget.

"The world will be a bleaker place without you."

Ellie said: "The club have been brilliant with us. We like it because Sarah was born in Leeds, we're from Leeds and we love the football and the community of Leeds.

"She is Leeds - she's almost like a mascot for the city."

She suffered chronic daily pain, had to be fed intravenously and spent much of her young life at Leeds General Infirmary and Martin House Hospice, where she was a big hit with staff.

Ellie said: "She had an amazing sense of humour - she used to give the doctors nicknames and made fun of them.

"She is so well thought of but she really did suffer on many occasions.

"She was not able to achieve things her friend's did at the same age, whether it was swimming or being able to have many holidays.

"But the staff couldn't have done any more for her. They moved mountains to help give her a life."

Andy added: "She is the epitome of resilience.

"She kept going and did everything with a smile on her face."

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