Kayley Keri, 20, was born with the genetic disease and died just before her 21st birthday in December 2015 – her family are getting ready to mark the anniversary of the Liverpool woman’s death
Image: Liverpool Echo)
A brave woman shared her final request with her family before losing her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.
Kayley Keri, 20, was born with the genetic disease and became the youngest patient to have a heart-lung transplant at the age of 11.
Kayley, from Liverpool, died in December 2015 shortly before her 21st birthday.
Her family are not preparing to mark the sixth anniversary of her death and are determined to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis (CF), Liverpool ECHO reports.
They also revealed Kayley’s final request before her death and said it was to remember her for the “difference she made”.
In a statement, the family said: “Behind closed doors, the grief isn’t any easier.
“Not once in the last six years have we not spoken about Kayley, she is still very much the focal point in our family and will always be.
“Kayley is in our conversations every day whether we are saying how she would have liked something or discussing a memory. She is still a huge part of us all.”
They said their grief had been exacerbated by the death of Kayley’s many friends within the CF community.
They said: “Sadly most of the CF friends of Kays have also passed on, what was once a close-knit group have all gained their wings, with just a couple of Kay’s CF friends remaining.
“The grief and sadness we feel for Kay only gets harder, each time a friend of her’s passes.”
They added: “We know Kay was aiming for a better outcome for CF patients, we pray that all Kay’s hard work and fight against CF has been beneficial for others.”
They described Kayley as the “funniest and most courageous” person who everyone could rely on for “honest advice”.
The family also revealed Kayley’s heartbreaking final request.
They said: “Kay requested the Beyoncé song – ‘I was here’ as she wanted to be remembered not for CF alone but for the difference she made, this song was the way she told us after she had passed the way she wanted it to be.
“Kay was very strong-minded, even going as far in her last few years of telling people little things she would like if that last day ever came.
“This was how we pieced together Kay’s beautiful funeral. Never a spoken plan but yet a plan of Kay’s own.
“As a family we are still extremely thankful to all the staff at Liverpool Heart and Chest, Alder Hey Hospital and Wythenshawe for the years of dedicated care for Kay and supporting us as a family, not forgetting Great Ormond Street who performed Kay’s transplant and the family that sadly lost their child but yet gave us the gift of life.
“We can never show our gratitude but these people and places will remain in our hearts forever.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.