Banbury mother Sam Kyme has died after more than £40,000 was raised by the community for her sons to be cared for by her sister.
The 34-year-old mum was ‘still smiling’ as she passed away yesterday morning (Thursday, December 21), according to her sister Pippa Hughes.
“She never stopped smiling even to the last day she was joking and laughing and taking the mickey, even then it was still her,” she told the Banbury Guardian.
“It’s so close to Christmas it’s going to be so hard for Joey and Harry, how do you go from processing this to making sure they have a good Christmas, they’re so young.”
In less than a year, Sam went from the outgoing, independent woman everyone knew her as to being unable to walk due to developing terminal motor neurone disease.
Her family and friends set up a crowdfunding page last month as they feared they would not be able to afford legal fees and tuition as Pippa planned to look after Harry, eight, and Joey, 12, when their mum died.
The response went across the country and donations coming in their thousands, with the original £15,000 target hit in three days.
The total kept going up and up and currently sits at nearly £42,000, enough to cover legal fees and pay for schooling in Sydney.
Banbury’s community spirit showed its colours as many people organised raffles, head shaves and offered whatever they could for the family.
Pippa said her guardianship of the boys is going through the courts and thanked everyone who has come to their aid.
“Everybody from people that helped fundraise to people who helped us, to carers, to Katharine House Hospice, everybody that was involved, thank you,” she said.
Sam grew up in Bloxham before moving to Banbury, working as a carer and a cleaner before her illness, working whenever she could while her sons were at school.
“She was very independent, very stubborn, very outgoing, always the life and soul of the party, but wouldn’t let anyone do anything for her, didn’t want any help,” Pippa said.
“But after her illness it was the complete opposite as she couldn’t look after herself.”
Sam was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in April, a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system and has no cure.
Pippa said Sam was visibly happier after doing appeal in November, although reluctant to ask for help, and seeing the generosity that came from it.
“It changed her, we went from not knowing how we were going to manage to now where everything is in place,” she said.
“She became a lot less anxious and a lot better, she really did fight.”
Pippa’s husband and children flew over from Australia this week to spend Christmas with the Kymes and she thinks Sam was ‘at ease’ once they were all together and knew it was going to be okay.
“It’s going to be hard but in some ways it’s a relief because seeing her like wasn’t good especially over the last few days when really she couldn’t do much,” she said.
“It’s shocking but I’m so glad they got to come over and for Sam that what she was waiting for and she was at ease.
“Now we’re all together and I think that was enough for her.”
Funeral details are yet to be arranged but Pippa said everyone is welcome. To donate to the appeal, click here.