Belfast Telegraph

Funeral held for tragic mum Lisa Watt (nee Toner)

By Cate McCurry

A tragic devoted mother who spent months battling terminal cancer in the hope of seeing her three children grow up was laid to rest yesterday.

Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects to 31-year-old Lisa Watt (nee Toner) at her funeral in Co Tyrone.

The Coalisland woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer 10 days after the birth of her third child in 2013.

Last year, the loving mother was left to deal with the reality that she would probably not see her children grow up after she was told her cancer was terminal.

Through her determination and popularity, Lisa raised more than £18,000 in just 11 days to help pay for a trip to California for potentially life-saving treatment.

However, her condition worsened, and knowing her time was short she married her long-term partner, Noel, last month.

Noel and the three children he had with Lisa, Aaron (12), Ellie (10) and two-year-old Daryl, led the mourners into St Mary and St Joseph's Church, the coffin adorned with a white and pink wreath which read 'Mummy'.

Pupils from local schools formed a guard of honour as the coffin was led in to the chapel with Lisa's family following closely behind.

Friends and family wept as they heard how the tragic mother had so much to live for and how she had remained positive right up until her death.

Fr John Gates, who was related to Lisa, told mourners: "For all of you who have journeyed these past two years with her, the news of her death, even though we all knew it was coming, on Monday past was so heart-wrenching, such a let-down at this point as we had hoped against hope that Lisa would recover her health and be able to enjoy her life with her young family.

"No one was more involved in that journey than those who Lisa loved most including Noel, Brian (her father), Mary (her mother), Ciara (her sister), her close friends and, above all, her three children, who were her life.

"You never left her side for one moment during that difficult journey. With its ups and downs, you were with Lisa right until the end despite your own breaking hearts.

"Lisa was just 31 years of age and had so much to live for. (She was) a very positive, always positive person and at the same time a very determined and focused person who when she set her mind to anything couldn't be swayed."

Fr Gates described how Lisa set up a Sweetie Secrets business in which she provided confectionery at wedding receptions, and that she even kept her business going through most of her illness.

He went on to say that despite doctors telling Lisa she had the all-clear following months of gruelling treatment, she knew something was "amiss".

He added: "She pushed for further tests and last year she was told the cancer had returned, but that this time it was terminal with no treatment.

"But that didn't deter Lisa. Not ready to leave her young children, she began a successful fundraising campaign to go to California for alternative treatment. She was not going to give up. It was a sign of her determination and of her popularity that she raised more than £18,000 in 11 days. Sadly, the trip just didn't work out as Lisa had planned, but still she did not lose heart.

"Lisa knew of her impending death. I asked her numerous times, 'Lisa are you afraid'? She said she was never afraid. She said, 'The only thing concerning me is leaving my children. I don't want to leave them and not be there for the significant moments in their lives'.

"She told me on this day to remind her children that when they see butterflies or feathers they can be sure that's her close by.

"I know that she, very bravely, is taking some steps to ensure that on some big occasions in their lives she will be there for them.

"She knew her time was coming and there was nothing she could do about it, and all that she wanted was to ensure that everyone around her was okay.

"We all prayed for a miracle for Lisa but, sadly, it was not meant to be."

Lisa's only sister and close friend, Ciara, wept as she read the poem Miss Me But Let Me Go at the end of the service.

Belfast Telegraph


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