Published: 07:00, 10 December 2014
Family and well-wishers have stepped in to help pay for the funeral of a “bolshy but brilliant” mum-of-three who died just months after she was given years to live.
Rebecca Slate, known as Becki, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour earlier this year.
A check up in October confirmed she would not survive as the tumour was buried deep and surrounded by nerves.
But she still expected to have some precious years with her three daughters, Leah, 10, Laylah, nine, and Aimee, five.
“Mummy made strange noises and fell over. I said ‘can you move mummy?’ and she said no, but she didn’t say anything else” - Aimee, five
On Monday the 26-year-old, who was described as "feisty and straight talking with a massive heart", collapsed and died.
Now an appeal to help pay for the funeral of the mum, who was unable to work and had recently had her benefits cut, has raised more than £1,600 in just 17 hours.
Already more than 70 people have donated to the gofundme site.
A Chatham funeral parlour has now stepped in and offered its services for free to “give Becki the send off she deserves”.
Her father David, who previously worked at BAE Systems and as a DJ, gave up work to care for Becki and moved her into his home in Beacon Road, Chatham.
With David out of work and mum Sam only just making ends meet as a carer for dementia suffers, the pair could not afford to bury their beloved Becki.
But today A H Apps Funeral Services based in Luton Road came forward offering to cover all the costs.
Sam said: “They saw the article on KentOnline and got in touch because they wanted to help, so we will now be able to give Becki the send off she deserves.
“We are just so overwhelmed by everybody’s generosity and at how people have come together to support us.
“It’s an amazing feeling at such an horrible time.”
The funeral will be held on January 7, with more details to follow and “be bright for Becki” is the message her loved ones want to get across.
The service will be an open event for all her friends.
"Look at the stars. When I’m gone, that’s where I’ll be, so if you look up there you can always find me, and I will always be looking down over you" - Becki
Sam added: “Becki met so many people and made so may friends, we wouldn’t know them all to invite, so everyone is welcome.
“The only condition is nobody is allowed to wear black.
“We want lots of bright colours for Becki, to celebrate her life.”
The money raised with the appeal will now be put in trust for Becki’s three children, with a little spent on treats for them this Christmas to make it as happy as it can be.
The tribute on the site says: "Her family want to give her the best send off possible, and give the girls a Christmas they deserve.
"Becki was failed by the government and the NHS, and her last few months resulted in her having depression over having no help or money.
"Becki's family and few friends are devastated, and extra stress over funeral costs etc. please please please help by donating anything you can no matter how small so we can give this beautiful lady a send off she deserves.
"We love you Becki and miss you so much already xx."
She leaves six brothers and sisters and two half siblings. Her mother Sam Slate said: “She knew was going to die, we just all thought she had more time, it’s a huge shock.”
The former Upbury Manor pupil (now Brompton Academy) was receiving radiotherapy to keep the tumour small at Kings College Hospital in London, as the larger it grew the more it pushed against her optic nerve and blinded her.
Medication, including steroids, made her slight size 6 figure shoot up to a 20 in a matter of a few months and she developed Cushing’s syndrome, epilepsy, mobility disfunction and memory loss.
Fresh heartache came for Becki when her partner of five years walked out on her in the hospital, unable to cope with watching her go through the treatment.
On Monday David had nipped to the shop and was gone less than 10 minutes when Becki lost consciousness, in front of Aimee.
David returned within a minute to find Becki slumped near the front door and Aimee told him: “Mummy made strange noises and fell over. I said ‘can you move mummy?’ and she said no, but she didn’t say anything else.”
Despite the trauma the girls are said to be coping remarkably well at the moment.
Sam, 34, added: “The doctors had told her ‘this is your life now, you are always going to be very ill’ so Becki started to prepare them for what would happen.
"She would say to them on a clear night: ‘Look at the stars. When I’m gone, that’s where I’ll be, so if you look up there you can always find me, and I will always be looking down over you’.
"She was bolshy, argumentative and told everybody straight. But she also had a huge heart and she loved her girls more than anything. She was a brilliant mum" - Sam Slate
“Life will never be the same without her. She was bolshy, argumentative and told everybody straight. But she also had a huge heart and she loved her girls more than anything.
"She was always active and liked to take them out, but they were real girlie girls and loved staying in to making bracelets together and doing make-overs too. She was a brilliant mum.
“Becki was loved by a lot of people, she was a lot of fun and probably went out clubbing with most people nearby at some point.
“We just want her remember for the amazing person she was.”
With the help of her best friends Kayleigh Smith and Sian Douglass, Becki and her family started a fundraising page in the hope of going to America for treatment. They now plan to use the money and anything else they can raise to give Becki a fitting funeral.
Sam, who is a carer for dementia sufferers, added: “We all feel let down by the NHS and believe more should have been done for her, but you always look to blame people when you are grieving.
“The US was a long shot, but you get doctors there willing to try anything and she just thought, ‘why not, I have nothing to lose’. But we didn’t get anything like enough, despite a lot of effort from Kayleigh especially.”
The £1,200 raised will now go towards funeral costs but will not cover them completely and with David out of work Sam only just making ends meet they cannot yet afford to bury their beloved Becki.
Donations can me made here: http://www.gofundme.com/iimrk4
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