‘Absolute tragedy’ as well known and loved disability blogger dies suddenly

Rochelle celebrating her 30th birthday
Rochelle celebrating her 30th birthday -Credit:Supplied

The loved ones of a disability blogger with a ‘bright future ahead of her’ have spoken of their heartbreak following her sudden death.

Rochelle Hern, from Bolton, was only 30 when she tragically passed away after her care team found her unresponsive at home on March 11.

Rochelle, aka Rochelle on Wheels, blogged about her experiences living with cerebral palsy and had tens of thousands of followers across social media, including on TikTok where her loyal fans referred to themselves as ‘Rochelle’s army’.

Last year Rochelle got engaged to her childhood sweetheart Chris Baxendale, 34, who also has cerebral palsy, and the couple had plans to get married on the beach in Tenerife and dreams of starting a family together.

Chris and Rochelle celebrating Rochelle's birthday
Chris and Rochelle celebrating Rochelle's birthday -Credit:Supplied

Chris’s mum Ginny Edgar, 56, from Kearsley, said the pair first met at primary school and later rekindled their friendship and would speak for hours on the phone each day.

She said: “Their paths crossed pretty much all their lives and then finally they got together. Instead of a ring he bought her a chain and they both have matching gold chains with R and C on.

“I’m so pleased she got to experience that positive relationship and talked about the future with Chris. She was really good for him. They absolutely adored each other.”

Heartbreakingly the couple never got to fulfil their dreams of having a family together. Speaking at Rochelle’s funeral Chris said: “I absolutely loved and adored Rochelle, she meant everything to me.”

Ginny and Rochelle on Christmas Day in 2022
Ginny and Rochelle on Christmas Day in 2022 -Credit:Supplied

Ginny said Rochelle’s death came as a ‘complete and utter shock’ and that the 30-year-old was just days away from getting the right care package and moving home after being the victim of a terrifying burglary.

On February 19, a few weeks before her death, Rochelle was woken at 5am by the sound of her electric chair moving. Burglars had broken into her home in Halliwell. They proceeded to steal her bank card, perfume and several of her handbags among other possessions.

Greater Manchester Police said an investigation into the burglary is ongoing and no arrests have yet been made.

Following the burglary, Ginny said she contacted the housing team in charge of Rochelle’s living arrangements to try and organise for her to be moved.

“It’s just horrendous. The stress she must have been under over the last few weeks of her life. It was a very difficult time for her,” she said.

Ginny said she had become Rochelle’s ‘advocate’ in recent years and had been fighting to get her appropriate support after noticing her living conditions were ‘awful’ and her flat was ‘no longer fit for purpose’

Ginny made a unicorn for Rochelle's funeral
Ginny made a unicorn for Rochelle's funeral -Credit:Supplied

Tragically when Rochelle died she was just days away from getting the right support.

“We did her flat up and decorated it. We got her to a good place.

“Rochelle didn’t want to lose her independence but it was quite obvious that she needed a lot of support and we were days away from that and that’s what breaks my heart.

“It’s just so tragic really. The tragedy was that I was just getting her the right support. Regardless of her disabilities she had a full, active and vibrant life.

“It’s just been an absolute tragedy. Despite her disability this should not have happened at all. There was no reason for her to pass. She had such a bright future ahead of her and was going to get the right support and that’s what makes it even more tragic,” Ginny said.

Following Rochelle’s death, Ginny launched a fundraiser in a bid to raise enough money to ensure Rochelle got the send off she deserved.

Ginny, who owns the florist Virginia Carmen Designs in Kearsley, made a unicorn head out of flowers for Rochelle’s funeral on April 10 and ensured she had a colourful casket and was taken to the crematorium in horse and carriage.

Rochelle had a horse and carriage for her funeral
Rochelle had a horse and carriage for her funeral -Credit:Supplied

“Rochelle loved Disney, she loved unicorns. She always had her hair dyed in various different colours to match her personality. She was funny, a real character.

“She loved what I did for a living and with flowers it was the more colourful the better,” Ginny said.

Commenting on the fundraiser and funeral, Ginny said: “Everyone has been so supportive. It’s been absolutely amazing. We’re very grateful. Everyone came together. We couldn’t have asked for a better send off.”

The GoFundMe page remains open and is now raising funds for the disability charity Scope in Rochelle’s memory.

Tributes have poured in for Rochelle on the GoFundMe page

To donate click here