Rebecca tragically passed away in October 2020 to brain cancer after having beaten breast cancer just two years before that.
The young prison receptionist had hoped to move into her first property with her partner, however, Rebecca’s mum Joanne Caunce stated that her ‘honest, reliable, loving’ girl sadly never got the chance to make the move.
Joanne, 52, is now appealing for help and extra funding for the hospice where her daughter stayed, as they are facing a £2,000 shortfall each day.
“I’ll never get over losing Rebecca, she was the most incredible daughter. She is so missed,” said Joanne.
“Rebecca was so funny and sometimes a little dizzy. I can still see the way she screwed her nose up when she laughed.
“She loved holidays, her Keep Fit classes, socialising with her family and friends, and her car – even though she lost the ability to drive towards the end.
“She was honest, reliable, loving. Beautiful. And I know as her mum I’m biased, but everybody loved her.”
In October 2018, at the age of 24, Rebecca was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had chemotherapy, a mastectomy, radiotherapy — but was then given the all clear.
Rebecca returned to her job at HMP Manchester where she worked in reception booking the prisoners in and out of the prison and booking in for prisoners’ visits.
However, in May 2020 Rebecca, who has a sister Bethany aged 21, began feeling sickly and dizzy.
At first, doctors thought Rebecca had vertigo or an ear infection. A doctor then suggested she go for an eye test — which helped discover that cancer had returned.
This time, the disease came back as a secondary cancer in her brain.
The former Deanery High School pupil was hospitalised into Wigan Infirmary before she went to Wigan and Leigh Hospice for pain management and ultimately end of life care.
Rebecca went into the hospice on October 3 2020 and passed away there just ten days later on October 13.
Joanne, a machine operator from Platt Bridge, added: “She used to say she was frightened and she didn’t want to leave us. To know she was going to pass away in months – the way she handled that news, the way she handled the last few months of her life – I’m so immensely proud of her.
“As soon as we came to the hospice, it was like a different world. The doctors and nurses were fantastic; they tried so hard to make her comfortable. It was like she was part of their family – they even let us bring in our Cockapoo, Florence.
“They all wanted to see pictures of what Rebecca looked like before cancer, all the treatments.
“We were there with her all day, every day. They even moved us into a room with a sofa bed so we could stay more comfortably through the night.
“Rebecca was never left on her own and someone was always there to bring us cups of tea, toast in the mornings – whatever we needed.
“She was in so much pain still and it was very distressing for me – but they were so gentle with her – how they moved her, washed her; how they spoke to me and Jordan, her partner.”
To add to the tragedy, Rebecca was expecting to move into her first home with partner Jordan — and started her treatment determined to get well enough to fix the place up.
“At the beginning, I promised Rebecca we’d get her home,” Joanne said. “She and Jordan had only just bought it and she loved restoring it, making a home.
“She was ready to start a family. ‘Promise me,’ she said. ‘I want to be at home.’
“But eventually I had to say to her, ‘Rebecca, love, I know we said we would, but we’re not going to get you home.
“The care you’re getting here is second-to-none. You know that don’t you?’ And she nodded. We both knew this was where she needed to be.”
Rebecca’s family will be sponsoring a Christmas tree in the hospice gardens every year in her memory. The tree will be located outside the room where she was admitted.
Wigan and Leigh Hospice, which cares for adults aged 18 and over from the borough, is facing a funding gap of £2,192 every day.
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