TRIBUTES have been paid to a “loving and caring” daughter who died after a 12-year battle with a brain tumour.
Karen Stokoe, from Braintree, was diagnosed in 2005 after having a seizure at work in London.
Miss Stokoe, 39, of Stubbs Lane, bravely faced her battle with cancer for more than a decade, but the tumour continued to grow and she died at home on Saturday.
Her mum Lynn said she had always been strong. She said: “She started getting more poorly in September, she kept having falls.
“She became bedridden so we had help from Christ Church Carers, district nurses, Farleigh Hospice and Marie Curie – they made it that little bit easier.”
Miss Stokoe, who was not married and had no children, had always been a keen sportswoman and kept active until her final months.
The former Chapel Hill and Alec Hunter pupil had completed the Halstead Marathon in 2005 and attended a dance school as a child.
Her mum said: “Even when she was not fit enough to join in, she joined water aerobics and it did her some good as she was trying to keep herself fit.
“She made a lot of friends there.”
Karen had a lot of support from her family, including dad Roger, brother Ian, cousin Glen Chapman and her three aunties – Ann Chapman, Janis Norfolk and Wendy Stokoe.
Her family said she took her illness incredibly well, with the help of friends she got back in touch with from school.
Her mum said: “She was very caring and independent, she never asked for anything from us.
“Very rarely did she complain to us, but as parents we knew she was hurting.
“That, I find incredible.”
She said her daughter had a large group of friends, including Sarah Windibank from Witham, who she met at her aqua aerobics class at Braintree Swim Centre.
Sarah said: “She was full of life, she never let anyone get her down. There was no stopping her, she loved a laugh and she loved joining in.
“At my birthday party just before Christmas we did silly games and Karen had to be a part of it.
“She was always the life and soul of everything that went on and she was never miserable.”
She had joined the aqua aerobics classes back in 2012 and her friends said she would always join in and have everybody smiling in the pool.
The leisure centre will continue to fundraising in Karen’s memory and hopes to set up a Justgiving page.
Last year, more than 80 people helped raise £2,342 for the Brain Tumour Charity to support Karen in her cancer battle.
Friend Julie Hunnable-Turner said: “She was a really brave, beautiful, kind and larger than life young lady.”