THE friends and family of a care worker from Southport who died on Boxing Day - just weeks after being diagnosed with breast cancer - are calling for mammograms to begin at a younger age.
Mum of three Kathryn Norman passed away aged just 33 after tragically spending her last Christmas Day in Southport Hospital, leaving behind husband Mark and children Max, 11, Emily, eight, and Charlotte, four.
Now her loved ones including her brother, Ric McLaughlin and her best friend, Gemma Lilley, are calling for mammograms to be undertaken at 30 years of age rather than the current age of 50 and up. They have been sharing posts on their campaign with the hashtag #mammograms at 30 on social media.
Kat - as she was known - was a senior care assistant at The Hollies rest home on Mornington Road in Southport, had complained of pain in her side at the end of November before a GP referred her to A&E on November 24.
As well as being diagnosed with a clot in her lung, medics at Aintree Hospital were concerned in December that she had stage four metastatic breast cancer and planned treatment to start in the new year.
But Kat became increasingly breathless and by December 20, her oxygen levels had fallen to a really low level and she was taken by ambulance to Southport A&E.
On Christmas Eve, her family were told that she needed an invasive treatment to tackle the clot but then discovered it had already damaged her lungs and heart. Medics feared that she had either suffered a stroke or that the cancer had spread to her brain.
In the early hours of Boxing Day, medics tried to place her onto a ventilator but her heart couldn’t cope and she tragically passed away.
Her devastated family told the Champion that they are “thankful for the supreme effort Southport Hospital CCU did in trying to save Kathryn’s life and that we know they did their very best.”
Her brother Ric McLaughlin shared a tribute on social media site Facebook: “I am so proud and lucky to have had an amazing sister like you Kat Norman.
“The protocols on mammograms need changing. How many peoples lives could’ve been saved if they had to have checks when they were 30 for example?
“How many families throughout the country have been affected with this pain, heartbreak and devastation from the loss of a family member?
“How many people wish that things had been different?
“We can push for change and make change happen! In honour of my sister, please share this to raise awareness and spread the word that we want change. I love you lil sis (sic). This is for you.”
Gemma Lillley, Kat’s best friend of 20 years, who met her when they were schoolgirls at Stanley High, said that Kat’s family and her children were her world. She has been left devastated by Kat’s loss.
A donations page on Go Fund Me, ‘Coins for Kat’ has been set up to help her family with funeral costs and to try and take some of the financial burden away from this sudden and tragic shock that has taken over their lives. It has already raised more than £3,700.