Tragic Sheffield girl kept on smiling to the end

Skylar Angel Kerrigon
Skylar Angel Kerrigon
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HEARTBROKEN parents have paid a moving tribute to their beautiful three-year-old daughter who died from a rare form of cancer.

Skylar Angel Kerrigan, of Hillsborough, Sheffield, kept smiling to the very end, despite the tumours which had spread throughout her tiny body.

Over the past 16 months, since being diagnosed with an incredibly rare form of pancreatic cancer, the brave little girl endured two operations and two rounds of chemotherapy.

But doctors could not stop the aggressive cancer and by the time she passed away last week she had tumours on her stomach, liver, kidneys, lungs, bowels and neck.

Her mum Liz said: “Throughout it all she just smiled her amazing smile.

“She touched the souls of everyone she met.”

THIS is the last photograph of three-year-old Skylar Angel Kerrigan, taken by her parents just a week before she lost her battle with aggressive cancer.

Even then, on holiday in Blackpool, Skylar beamed through the pain, ignoring the tumours wracking her tiny body.

Her mum Liz Tickett, aged 39, said: “She was so happy.

“She never really knew she was ill. It was normal for her.

“Whenever she went into Sheffield Children’s Hospital she would bring some life into the place.

“She had a presence which meant she grabbed your attention. She could be in a room of adults and every one of them would be in the palm of her hand.”

Dad Mark added: “She was always chatting, bossing people about. And if she wasn’t smiling she was pulling a face at you.”

Her death has touched the whole Hillsborough community, and on Saturday businesses close to their home on Dykes Hall Road will hold a charity day in her memory.

Even before she was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in February last year, Skylar had already had a tough start in life.

She was born 15 weeks premature, weighing a tiny 1lb 7oz.

She underwent two bowel operations and spent the first 17 weeks of her life at the Jessop Wing maternity ward.

Liz said: “We called her Angel because she nearly died so many times on those first few months.

“The angels wanted her back.”

Skylar eventually recovered from that difficult start and was doted on by brothers and sisters Zeb, five, Adara, 11, twins Clarée and Hope, 14, and Gage 17.

But one morning last year she woke at home and her skin had gone yellow.

Scans found a large tumour obstructing her bile duct.

Mark said: “The doctors at Sheffield Children’s Hospital said it was pancreatoblastoma. It’s very aggressive and very hard to control.

“And it is very rare – there have only been 11 cases documented in 34 years in this country.”

In April last year Skylar underwent an operation removing her pancreas, bile duct, gall bladder and parts of her stomach.

But six weeks later doctors found three more tumours, treated by chemotherapy and more surgery.

“Every time they thought they had got all the tumours,” said Liz. “But they kept coming back.”

Skylar passed away on Tuesday June 5. Her funeral takes place on Monday at Grenoside North Chapel at 11am.

“We have asked everyone to wear pink,” said Liz.

“It was her favourite colour and she will love it. It’s her last chance to make her mark.”

Mourners will then be invited to for a woodland walk to lay a flower for Skylar.

n The Skylar Angel charity fundraiser takes place on Saturday, centred at Khan’s Hut on Dykes Hall Road, with raffles, chest waxing and other events. Proceeds go to Sheffield Parents’ Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia and Donna’s Dream House in Blackpool.