The husband of a Wigan mum, who died unexpectedly after overcoming cancer and having a baby, has paid tribute to a happy and adventurous soul who ‘lived life to the fullest.’
Emma Tedford was only 36 when she suffered a fatal seizure – just weeks before her son’s first birthday.
The mum-of-one from Shevington died from undetected cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart to become enlarged.
Emma had successfully battled ovarian cancer after doctors found a watermelon-sized tumour in one of her ovaries.
Following her recovery, she and her husband Dave struggled to conceive and sought medical help to start their own family.
During their third round of IVF with eggs harvested before her life-saving cancer operation, Emma finally got pregnant with Casey – who turned one in December.
Dave has described her as an “ace mum” who dedicated her free time to helping others learn how to breastfeed.
“She was happy and adventurous, and loved living life,” said Dave, 39.
“We have so many amazing memories and travelled everywhere with each other before we had Casey.
“Emma was an ace mum, she just loved Casey like you wouldn’t believe.”
Dave and Emma, who met almost two decades ago during a night out in Wigan, had been married for 13 years when she died unexpectedly.
Emma, who had taken time away from her job as an accountant to look after Casey, gave her family a “hug and kiss” before going to bed for the last time.
“She would sleep in the back with the cot when I was working,” said Dave, who works for a large printing business in Manchester.
“But on this night the room was full of things on the bed so I was sleeping with her. I woke up and she was fitting.
“I had to get her out of bed and resuscitate her.
“The ambulance probably only took five to 10 minutes but it felt like a lifetime.
“After 72 hours doctors told us that there was no brain activity.
“We had to take the decision to turn off her life support – it was horrible.
“No one should ever have to go through that.”
Dave, who has currently been given time off work to care for the couple’s only son, said that he will continue to give Casey “the best start at life” just like Emma did.
“Raising a child on your own just completely changes your life in every single way,” he said.
“It’s very hard work but me and Casey have such a strong bond.”
Following his wife’s death, her devastated husband pledged to fulfill her ambition to give breastmilk to their son until his first birthday.
Dave has received unwavering support from Breastfeeding Together, where Emma volunteered in the last year of her life.
After her son’s birth at Ormskirk Hospital, Emma sought help online from the support group.
Soon she was one of their most valued volunteers, helping to advise and support other mums with their breastfeeding journey.
One of Emma’s main goals was to achieve the “Golden Boobies” award, which meant breastfeeding Casey for a year.
Sadly, her dream was not achieved as she passed away just before Casey’s birthday on December 12.
Casey was 11 months old when Emma died, but with the help of her breastfeeding buddies, team, he was provided with breastmilk for the final month of the year - meaning that Emma still receives the coveted award.
“The support that the girls have given has been amazing,” said Dave. “I will try my best to support them as much as Emma did.
“She really just loved to help people and she loved breastfeeding. I know she believed it to be the best start for Casey so I’m really pleased the team was able to carry that on for us.
Dave, who is currently looking after Casey full-time, said that his wife’s dream would be to continue helping mothers who need help with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Together also paid tribute to Emma following her death, calling her “lovely and kind”.
“The girls all really miss her”, said Dave.
In a statement, the group said: “Emma was lovely and kind, she was thoughtful and such a good listener, she loved being a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and was proud to be part of a team helping breastfeeding mummy’s and their babies.
“Emma was determined to get her ‘Golden Boobies’ and reach 12 months of breastfeeding her baby boy and after such a difficult start with breastfeeding this would have been a huge achievement for Emma and Casey. Casey is now one and we are proud to say that Casey has received a ‘Golden Boobies’ Award in honour of his mummy.”