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Charlene Campbell's grieving family vow to raise £10,000 for charity in tribute to mum and baby they lost to cancer

By Erinn Kerr

Published 10/11/2015

Charlene Campbell (left) with her aunt Liz Beggs
Charlene Campbell (left) with her aunt Liz Beggs
Charlene Campbell
Tragic loss: Charlene’s daughter Myla

The family of a young woman and her baby daughter who both died of cancer within five years of each other have pledged to raise £10,000 in their memory.

Charlene Campbell (33) lost her short battle with cancer in October, five years after her daughter, Myla, who died aged 12 months and 12 days, passed away in her arms.

Little Myla was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive rhabdoid tumour when she was just days old and underwent a raft of treatment including chemotherapy.

Charlene's aunt, Liz Beggs, told the Belfast Telegraph that her niece had been so badly affected by her daughter's brave fight that she developed a fear of the deadly disease.

She swore that if she ever developed cancer herself she would find some other way to fight it.

In a cruel twist of fate, Charlene, who was described by her family as "fit and healthy", was diagnosed with breast cancer in March this year.

Liz, who had a close relationship with her niece, was with her when she got the devastating news.

She said: "Charlene found a lump below her breast and her mum and I went with her to get the results of her tests.

"I still remember when the doctor started talking about having a mastectomy and getting chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Charlene put her hand up and simply said 'no'."

Charlene decided to begin her own holistic journey and attempted to fight the cancer by cutting out sugar, eating a strict organic diet and trialling controversial treatments such as having her root canals removed.

"She had been so traumatised by Myla's experience of fighting a brain tumour and the time she spent around sick children and babies," Liz said.

"She found the screams of the little ones too much to bear and was haunted by some of the treatment that little Myla was put through."

Before her death on October 7, Charlene, who was from Portadown and worked in Hannah Estate Agents in the town, told her family she wanted to raise money to help charities find kinder ways to treat babies and young children with cancer. Liz said: "She wanted to do something to help all the babies and children like Myla who had to go through treatment for cancer."

Now the family, including Charlene's aunt Liz, her cousin Mandy Ritchie, sister Louise Lawson and mum Geraldine Lawson have set up a Justgiving fundraising page to ask the public to support Charlene's cause.

Aptly named 'Charlie's Angels', the charity fund has been set up in loving memory of both Charlene and her daughter, known as 'Smyla Myla'.

Mandy posted: "This page is set up in memory of Charlene Campbell and her baby daughter Smyla Myla who both sadly lost their battle to this cruel disease."

Mandy called Charlene the "social butterfly" of the family and appealed to the public to help find "kinder" treatments for children and young people after Charlene witnessed the "horrors" of cancer treatment.

All money raised will go to Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens.

The family are planning a whole host of fundraisers for the new year, including runs, coffee mornings and even a masquerade ball.

Charlene was laid to rest next to Myla in Kernan Cemetery, Portadown.

Liz said: "Charlene was such a positive force in our lives and she would always say 'it is what it is'.

"We are all still consumed by grief but we want to do something in her memory.

"Charlene had a very difficult life and nothing would ever fill the gap in her heart left behind by baby Myla - now she can be at peace and back with her little girl."

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