A heartbroken mum found the secret gift her daughter was saving for her little brother’s birthday – but never got to give him.
Generous Natasha Horne had been saving money towards a car for her brother Tom’s 18th birthday in October last year.
Tragically, she died from a suspected diabetic coma in August, aged just 20.
Tomorrow night, Natasha’s family and friends will gather to celebrate what should have been her surprise 21st birthday party.
And when family and friends meet up, glasses will be raised in her memory, rather than excitement for what lies ahead.
But memories of the warm-hearted, fun-loving girl continue to inspire her family to raise awareness of diabetes.
And a find in Tasha’s diary that touched the heart of her relatives, as the Chronicle Live reports.
‘Plans we can’t fulfil’
Mum Jackie said: “She’d have been 21 on January 17 but we always planned to have a surprise party for her on the 12th.
“We were going to tell her on the night about the holiday – she’d have had no idea.
“They were plans we were making for her that we can’t now fulfil.”
But memories of Tasha’s caring nature keep spurring on Jackie, husband Stephen and friends and family to spread the diabetes word.
Jackie said: “She thought of everybody but herself. When we were looking in her room, we found a diary.
“On the page for October 10 – her brother’s 18th – we found a lot of money and the message “brum brum, Tom’s 18th”.
“She knew he wanted a car so she was saving up money for him.
“He got a car but it was only afterwards that we noticed the registration ended LVU – love you.”
All about awareness
Spreading the word about diabetes was, sadly, something Tasha didn’t to do. Flattered by compliments about her weight loss and reluctant to change her lifestyle or take her meds, she stubbornly refused to acknowledge the extent of her condition.
But determined to spare others the heartache they’ve been going through, her family has other ideas.
Jackie, whose work at the Lloyds Pharmacy, on the Trunk Road, brings her into almost daily contact with people with diabetes, said: “She would have hated the fact people knew she was Type 1 but I think she’d have been thrilled by the response we’ve had.
“We still don’t know why she was so adamant about keeping it to herself because it’s nothing to be ashamed of – and that’s one of the messages we’re determined to keep putting out there. People with diabetes can live happy, healthy lives.”
At least one life saved
Jackie’s colleagues at Lloyds helped raise more than £200 for Diabetes UK through a #run26 running challenge, while a December fundraiser at the Eston Institute raised more than £300. That’s in addition to £2,600 raised through the “Rest In Paradise Tasha Horne” Facebook page.
And on Friday, February 1 in Eston Labour Club, and co-organised by close friend Louise Ingoe, there’s the biggest fundraising event yet, with singers Danielle Ripley and Rich Peterson, a disco and a raffle featuring signed Boro and Manchester United items.
Jackie, 43, said: “For a parent, losing a child in the circumstances we did, and with it being so linked to my work, it’s been difficult. I see people with type 1 and 2 diabetes on a daily basis. But because of that, I know you can live with it.”
And the ultimate proof of that came from a Facebook message Jackie received.
“One lady messaged me to say that after her daughter had suffered a similar attack to Tasha, she showed her a copy of The Gazette write-up when she was in hospital. She told her ‘I don’t ever want you to be in this situation again’ and before long the girl was discharged, checking her insulin, on self-medication and really starting to take notice.
“I always said that if we could save even one family from going through what we’ve gone through, that was the aim – and that’s what has happened.
“To know someone has taken it on board is amazing. And that’s why, even though it’s still raw and unbearable at times, we have to keep doing this.”
• Admission to the February 1 event is £3.50, tickets available from Lloyds Pharmacy on the Trunk Road.