Inspirational South Shields mum loses battle with cancer
An inspirational mum who stayed positive throughout her fight against lung cancer has lost her brave battle.
It was hard not to smile when Esma Richardson, 40, walked into a room. Her beaming smile and positive outlook on life was infectious.
Even when she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in January 2014, which had also spread to 19 other parts of her body, she refused to give up on life.
The mum-of-three and step-mum to one, took part in a drugs trial which helped to halt the disease from growing for a while.
But lst year, doctors discovered a growth on her left side near to her kidney which medics were unable to operate on.
However, she was she was told about Stereotactic radiotherapy - which would have been used to target tumours near her kidney - and despite being informed of the £50,000 price tag she refused to give up hope and embarked on a fundraising mission to raise the cash.
Esma also created a Facebook page, Esma’s journey - using a rainbow as a logo, to chronicle her cancer journey.
She was given further hope when she was told about a new drugs trial, but following tests was later told she was not eligible.
Esma lost her battle with cancer in the early hours of Tuesday June 12.
Younger sister Deena Al-Hamdan said: “Esma really was the strongest person I have ever known.
“When she was diagnosed with cancer, it affected everybody. But she refused to let it drag her down.
“She was such a positive person and did so much to help people.”
Esma was born in Kuwait and moved to the UK with her family. She was the oldest of six siblings, Aziz Al-Hamdan 39, Somaya Al-Hamdan, 34, Deena Al-Hamdan, 30, Simone Welsh, 23 and Santino, 21.
As a youngster she attended Harton Comprehensive School.
After leaving school she went straight into hairdressing at Saks in South Shields and also done mobile hairdressing work.
Esma, mum to Connor, 20, Marcus, six and Andre, three, and step-mum to Emma, 23, lived in Broughton Road, South Shields, with husband Steven, 42.
Deena added: “Up until a few weeks ago she was still her usual positive, happy self, then she started to become really ill.
“She was admitted to South Tyneside District Hospital three weeks ago. She was on Ward 20 and all the staff and nurses were brilliant.
“Even towards the end she looked well and remained so positive.
“Some people take being diagnosed with cancer as the end of their life, but not Esma, she started raising money for charity, then later for herself to fund treatment.
“Even though we knew it was going to happen, when Esma died, it was still a shock. We were at the hospital every day.
“Esma was an inspiration, she will be missed by everyone and will never be forgotten. She has left us with so many good memories. She stayed positive right to the end.
“Now, every time I see a rainbow, I’ll think of her and the good memories we shared.”
A service will take place at the chapel within Harton Cemetery for close family and friends on Friday June 22 at 11.30am.
It will be followed by a wake at the Sundial where all those who knew Esma are invited to celebrate her life, from 1pm.
The family has requested donations in lieu of flowers to the Bobby Robson Foundation based at the Freeman Hospital.