Courageous Katie, 22, loses long cancer battle

Katie Buckley, 22, from Catterall, who died after a 7-year-battle with leukaemia
Katie Buckley, 22, from Catterall, who died after a 7-year-battle with leukaemia

A family has paid tribute to a “courageous” young woman who has died after a seven-year battle with a rare form of leukaemia.

Katie Buckley, from Catterall, near Garstang, passed away at home surrounded by mum Sharon, sisters Sam, Charlotte and Ginny, and her beloved dog Dillon. She was just 22.

Katie, who was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2009 aged 15, had beaten cancer twice, but it returned last year. Her death comes less than three years after her dad, Mark, a well-known charity fundraiser, died after falling off his bicycle.

Mum Sharon said Katie was “courageous, the bravest, most amazing person I’ve ever met”.

“Courageous, the bravest most amazing person I’ve ever met,” said Sharon. “She was determined she was going to live, she wanted to live, she just wanted to be normal.

“Not even up to her last day did she give up the fight, it was her body that gave up to the cancer in the end but not her mind.”

Katie’s fight against cancer dominated her teenage years. She was just 15, when she was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2009.

Despite her battle, she defied the odds and the former Garstang High School pupil took her exams, achieving several top A grades at GCSE.

Sharon says: “She was such a determined character, very much like her dad but so easy to bring up, I never had any problems with her.

“Don’t get me wrong, she could have her moments but I remember coming out of parents evening so proud. She just excelled and it came naturally to her.

“That’s why she will leave a massive void in our lives. Without the cancer she could have gone on to so many things but she didn’t want to earn a million pounds. What she really wanted above anything was to be normal.

“She has been so cruelly cheated out of life.

“I think that is why it was even more of a shock to lose her - she was so defiant, she made us believe she would beat it again.”

Katie’s funeral will be held at St Thomas’ Church, Garstang, on Monday June 13 at 11am.

Sister Sam, a nurse at Salford Hospital who now lives in Horwich, added Katie will be laid to rest in the local cemetery, which forms part of the route on her daily run.

“It sounds strange but it is such a lovely place and I will have the time to stop and talk to her everyday.

“I mentioned it to mum and we all agreed it was perfect.”

Later this year, all the girls are planning a trip to Greece to run the Athens marathon in Katie’s memory.