Ashlee Blair's family to go ahead with fundraiser after she loses cancer fight
The funeral of a young Co Antrim mum-of-three who lost her battle with cancer will take place today.
Ashlee Blair (30), from Greenisland, had been battling stage 4 cancer having been diagnosed just before Christmas.
A GoFundMe page with a £10,000 fundraising target was set up by her family to help pay for her care, her funeral and to support her children in the future.
Tragically Ashlee, who had been fighting for more time with her young children, passed away last week in the oncology ward of Belfast City Hospital after her condition deteriorated.
Ashlee, who worked as a care assistant, had three young children - Amelia (4), Peter (3) and Conor (2) - with her partner Peter (30).
She was first diagnosed with cancer in December 2016 and, after gruelling treatment, last August she celebrated one year of being cancer-free.
Sadly, just before last Christmas, she received the "completely soul-crushing" diagnosis of cancer in her body, from her neck down her spine including her ribs, pelvis, hips and femurs.
She had been receiving treatment in hospital and hospice care as her pain grew to unmanageable levels, but hoped to be well enough to return home to her family.
She had also made the heart-breaking decision to record bedtime stories for her children in case she died from the disease.
Her brother Sam, who set up the fundraising campaign, said her family has been left devastated by her death.
"We thought we would have a few more months with Ashlee but sadly she went downhill really quickly," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"Near the end she had trouble with her breathing and passed away at 11.45pm on March 5 surrounded by her family.
"We are heartbroken but we know that she is looking down on us and one day we will all be together again.
"We knew she was in a lot of pain, but now her suffering is over and she is in a peaceful place so we take comfort in that."
An 'Ashlee's Army' fundraising event organised for the RAOB Buffs Social Club in Carrickfergus on March 29 will go ahead as per Ashlee's wishes, Sam revealed.
"Any money raised on the night will go to Peter and the kids. Ashlee would have wanted us to just get on with things because she was such a strong woman," he said.
Ashlee is also survived by her parents Stephen and Michelle and wider family circle.
A private service of celebration for Ashlee's life will take place at her parents' home today at 10am, followed by committal at Roselawn Crematorium.
Her family have requested that donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Our Fight Against Cancer page on the GoFundMe website.