Tragedy as 'truly wonderful' mum-of-two, 31, dies with family by her side after leukaemia battle

A 'truly wonderful and loving' mum-of-two has tragically died aged 31 after a gruelling battle with leukaemia. Devon Leigh passed away on June 4 surrounded by her family after battling the rare blood cancer and complications from stem cell donations.

She had been first diagnosed with PH+ Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in February of 2022, aged just 29. She had attended a GP appointment in the morning, before then being immediately admitted to hospital for blood tests at Tameside hospital.

The diagnosis left her family in 'shock', as she was then taken straight to the Christie hospital for immediate targeted chemotherapy.

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It was then revealed that Devon, mother to Olivia, seven and Daisy, four, had a rare PH variant of the illness, and that she required a stem cell transplant. After a number of failed donor attempts, a match was then found and the transplant took place in late September 2022.

Her partner John Mawdesley said Devon, who worked at the Sunflower Children's Centre nursery in Hyde, was 'very poorly' for months afterwards and was not allowed visitors due to her weakened immune system. They could only speak to one another through Facetime video calls.

John said: "We were apart from each other for the first month, with only FaceTime available to see or speak to the girls myself and the family. After six weeks, Devon returned home very weak and poorly but her leukaemia had gone, so we all rallied around her and, slowly but surely, she returned to herself.

"Even whilst suffering with Graft vs Host disease and being backwards and forwards to the Christie every couple of days for light therapy, she was slowly getting her life back and enjoying spending time with her children."

It was in September last year that Devon, from Hyde, was readmitted back into hospital due to health 'complications' from the transplant, John said. She spent nine months 'up and down with various infections' and had three stays on the Intensive Care Unit.

"But each time she beat the odds. We were told each time she wasn't going to make it, but with her strength and attitude, pulled through to the point where she was recovering," John said.

However tragically, she caught another infection and passed away in hospital on June 4 surrounded by her loved ones.

Paying tribute, John said: "Devon was a truly wonderful person with a loving nature and an infectious personality. She was a doting mother and partner who lit up every room she walked into.

"She was an energetic young mother of two young girls who at the time she was diagnosed were two and five years old. At the time and until her death, she was employed by the Sunflower centre children’s nursery in Hyde as a room leader.

Devon and her daughters Olivia and Daisy
'Truly wonderful and loving' mum-of-two Devon died aged 31

"Devon loved her job, her workmates and the children she cared for. As a family we’d like to thank everybody for their support kindness and generosity."

Following Devon's death, her close friends Kirsty and Heather set up a GoFundMe to help support the family. They penned: "Devon deserves the best and if possible we would like to take away some of the worry for the family and help raise as much as we possibly can to ease the stress and worry at such a sad time.

"Not only do they have the worry of the funeral costs but they have the two beautiful little girls to support as well who have already missed out on so much. The girls are just like their mummy.. amazing, kind and strong. Let's all pull together and show Devon just how much she is loved and give her the best send off we possibly can."

In a tribute speaking to the M.E.N, they said: "Devon lit up every room she walked into, she was definitely the joker and was always the one behind the pranks. She really was the life and soul of everything and everyone. The impact she had on everyone is unexplainable, but one thing is evident... she was loved many and will be missed by so many."

An inquest into Devon's death is due to open at Manchester Coroner's Court on June 20. Donations can be made to the GoFundMe page here.