A heartbroken mum has shared this last photo of her 15-year-old before her life support had to be switched off after a sudden asthma attack left her brain dead.
Beccy Smith was having a nap at home to recover from an asthma attack when her mum Paula Thompson, 47, found her unable to breathe or talk.
She was rushed to hospital and put in an induced coma, and her anxious family waited four days while the schoolgirl fought for her life.
But a scan revealed the GCSE student was brain dead and would not wake up.
Her devastated family said doctors think her earlier asthma attack had been so severe her brain was deprived of oxygen and she had a cardiac arrest while napping.
Medics switched off her life support and the aspiring social care worker died with her family around her.
Her brave mum from Burton, Staffordshire, has chosen to release a poignant last photo of her cuddling lifeless Beccy in hospital to raise awareness of the dangers of asthma.
Paula, also mum to Chan, 28, and Kayla, 26, said: “Beccy was the most beautiful person, she was my world, and she was loved by everyone.
“I’m so proud of the person she became.
“It hasn’t hit me yet – it feels like she’s just gone away for a while, and one day she’ll walk back through the front door.
“The last thing she said to me was ‘Mum I think I’m dying,’ and that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
“I just want people to see how dangerous asthma can be – a lot of people think ‘it’s only asthma’ but it can be fatal and should be taken seriously.”
Beccy’s cousin Katie Costello, 30, added: “Beccy was a wonderful person with a heart of gold, she would do anything for anyone.
“She had such a big, bubbly personality – she was always trying to make you laugh, telling jokes and busting out TikTok dances.
“Two weeks ago she was completely fine. I don’t think any of us can get our heads around the fact she is actually gone.
“People should know how dangerous asthma can be.
“You can’t take anything for granted, because you don’t know what’s around the corner.”
Beccy was home with mum Paula Thompson, 47, and best friend Mia Doyle, 14, when she began having chest pains and wheezing, on January 9.
She had suffered with asthma for years, but in recent weeks it had got worse for reasons the family don’t yet know.
An ambulance was called to the scene, and she was treated with a nebuliser.
Once her breathing stabilised she was left at home to rest.
Speaking on behalf of Paula, her cousin Katie, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, said: “She seemed to be ok at that point.
“She looked a bit pale, but that was pretty normal.
“She said she was exhausted from the attack, and was going to have a nap.
“She told me she’d call me when she woke up, but she never got to.”
Paula later found her unable to breathe or talk – and within two hours, she was in an induced coma at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, on a ventilator.
An MRI scan revealed she was brain dead and would not wake up on January 12, and the family were told to say their goodbyes.
Katie recalled: “That moment completely broke us – we just sobbed and sobbed.”
Beccy was pronounced dead at 1.20pm on January 13, surrounded by her mother, cousins and sister Chantell Read.
Paula told family that her “heart has gone with Beccy”.
Katie said: “Beccy was Paula’s world, and they were best friends as well as mother and daughter, so she is completely heartbroken; we all are.
“She was the most amazing person. She had a heart of gold and would have done anything for anyone.
“We just want people to know how dangerous asthma can be – and to never take life for granted.”
The family are fundraising via Go Fund Me to cover the costs of Beccy’s funeral.
They want her coffin to be carried in a horse and carriage – because that’s how Beccy wanted to travel to her prom next year.
Katie explained: “We want Beccy to have the send-off she would have wanted, and leave the legacy she deserved.”
The link to the GoFundMe page, set up by her cousin Melanie, can be found here: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/help-my-cousin-pay-towards-her-daughters-funeral?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_g3yf+help-my-cousin-pay-towards-her-daughters-funeral