THE family of a popular midwife, devastated by her sudden death, have paid tribute to “the woman who always thought of others”.
Lisa Stephenson died just days after her 42nd birthday, after suffering two strokes and being told she had leukaemia.
And loved ones are still coming to terms with the tragic loss of the much-loved mum-of-three, from Westoe Crown, South Shields.
Lisa, who had been a midwife at South Tyneside District Hospital for 15 years, was well-known in her hometown after helping bring hundreds of babies into the world through the job she enjoyed.
And the words of sympathy that have poured in since her death have been a comfort to her daughters, Chloe Halton, 18, Abigail Carr, 13, and Megan Carr, 11.
Chloe said: “We were so close that it was scary. We were always out together, and we couldn’t go anywhere without her seeing someone she knew.
“I think she was connected to every person in South Shields in some way, whether she’d delivered their baby or a family member or friend’s.”
Lisa was first taken ill on January 27, when she was admitted to South Tyneside District Hospital with a chest infection.
She was kept in overnight for blood tests and seemed to be doing fine, but the following day, she suffered a stroke.
The day after that, doctors found she had leukaemia and she was transferred to Sunderland Royal Hospital to start chemotherapy.
Lisa’s family were optimistic that she was going to recover, but on February 6, she suffered another stroke, from which she never woke up.
Then sadly on February 10, she passed away, just eight days after her birthday.
Lisa was the youngest of four children.
She leaves behind a brother, George Stephenson, 63, who is married to Brenda, 61, and sisters Dorothy Defty, 62, married to Ronnie, 67, and Lynn Basham, 55, married to John, 59.
George said: “We had just come to terms with the first stroke. It still hasn’t sunk in, but I don’t think it ever will – it all just happened so fast.”
Before that, Lisa was fighting fit and took part in a number of charity challenges to raise money for worthy causes.
On Boxing Day, she took a charity plunge into the North Sea with little Zack Curry, who she delivered 10 years ago.
Lisa took part in the dip along with Zack, and her daughters, Abigail and Megan, in memory of Zack’s grandad, Jack Allen.
Lisa had also abseiled down the cliffs, worked with the Girls’ Venture Corps and completed the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
Daughter Chloe, who is studying to be an accountant, said: “As soon as you needed her, she was there and she’d do anything for you. She never thought of herself, she just always thought of others.
“She’d do anything you asked her to, and if she couldn’t do something, she would always find a way to help.
“It didn’t matter how busy she was, she would always find time.”
Sister Dorothy added: “She had hundreds of friends – she just knew everyone. She was such a wonderful mother, and she was so supportive of her girls.
“She just loved life and she lived it to its fullest. No one could do what she did in 42 years in their lifetime.”
Lynn said: “Lisa had a heart of gold and she was made of strong stuff. She wasn’t just a sister to me, but a friend, a mate, and a very good mate to my kids and a great auntie.
“Lisa should always be praised for not only being a mum, but also a midwife. We’ll miss her forever.”
Lisa was also a big fan of West End musicals and enjoyed travelling to London with her daughters.
Helen Ray, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief operating officer of clinical services, said: “Lisa worked as a midwife at the Trust for many years, and the team here was very sad to hear of her death.
“Our thoughts are with Lisa’s family at this very difficult time.”
Lisa’s funeral is being held tomorrow at South Shields Crematorium in John Reid Road, South Shields. The service begins at 10.30am.
The family will then be meeting for drinks and to talk about Lisa’s life at the New Crown in Mowbray Road, South Shields. All are welcome to attend.
TRIBUTES have poured in for South Tyneside midwife Lisa Stephenson.
Dozens of messages and photos have been posted on the popular 42-year-old’s Facebook page, after her tragic death.
Simone Harrington said: “You were there for me for one of the most special and scary points of my life, when I was in labour.
“You went above and beyond the role you were paid for. A kinder and nicer lady I have never met.”
Amanda Barnes said: “I thought you were one of the nicest, genuine people I have ever met in my life.
“I know how much it would hurt you to leave your girls, but you have raised them to be strong and your memory will live on in them.”
Tracey Vickers said: “RIP Lisa. You were a lovely lady, always smiling. I’m so glad you brought Lily into this world safe and sound, you will never be forgotten.”
Michelle Martin said: “Goodnight sweet angel. Still can’t believe that you have gone. Thinking of your lovely girls who I know you loved so much.”
Christine Kram said: “You were such a beautiful person inside and out and you will be sadly missed.”
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