ON the first birthday since their daughter’s death the parents of a selfless young woman - who raised thousands for charity - are hoping to continue her legacy.
Emma Towers, 32, died on September 24 of a rare form of blood cancer.
Today would have been her 33rd birthday and her parents, John and Veronica, and partner Dan, are hoping that her legacy lives on - and there’s even talk of a Young Humanitarian of the Year award being set up in her honour.
John, 52, from Smithies, told the Chronicle: “Emma left behind family, a partner and many friends who loved her so deeply, but importantly, she left a legacy of giving, caring and working to make a positive change in this world.
“A person committed to her values and beliefs.
“It was during Emma’s time at Royston High School that she first realised her passion, almost duty, to help others and started fundraising for causes across the world.”
Emma studied at the University of Edinburgh and London School of Economics (LSE) and gained a PGCE in secondary education at Sheffield Hallam University to become a qualified teacher of English - she taught at Hinde House school.
She met her partner Dan in 2015 and they instantly became ‘inseparable’ - they took a ‘leap of faith’ and left everything behind to try and set up a new life in a different continent, initially landing in Mexico.
“Emma continued to teach through an online teaching company working with vulnerable pupils,” John added.
“She worked with Dan fundraising for many charities across the world helping young people apply for and secure grants, raising in the region of £300,000.
“This seemed to encapsulate everything that Emma strived for and believed in.
“Emma and Dan were so happy with life and believed that they had managed to establish the perfect life that they had been looking for, until she started to notice bruising on her breast and therefore went to see a private consultant whilst in Oaxaca, who ultimately advised her to have a mastectomy within two weeks.”
She returned back home on February 20 last year and immediately saw a GP who referred her to Royal Hallamshire and then to Weston Park - the latter confirmed the need for a mastectomy to remove the cancerous lump.
After a number of biopsies, a rare form of cancer was diagnosed - angiosarcoma.
“Emma had the operation but after further scans and tests it was confirmed that the sarcoma had spread to numerous parts of her body, both bone and soft tissue,” her dad added.
“The news soon came that it was incurable.
“Originally, Emma was due to have radiation but after the final diagnosis it was decided chemotherapy was the only option, and this was unlikely to work.
“Along with these and a number of important early appointments she was unable to take anyone along with her, having to brave these alone due to the Covid situation.”
Throughout the ordeal she continued with her online teaching as she didn’t want to let her students down - and she was even still fundraising with Dan.
She was rushed into hospital on September 1 after four sessions of chemotherapy as she had severe abdominal pain - she stayed for a few days before returning home, but after just over a week she was readmitted to ward 24.
Emma died on September 24 at Barnsley Hospital, with her partner, mum and dad by her side.
“Never once did she say, ‘why me?’, never once did she become angry or agitated about why this was happening,” John said.
“Her last few weeks personified her whole life - one of selflessness, curiosity, patience, kindness, generosity, calmness and integrity, to mention but a few traits which encapsulate this beautiful, intelligent and loving young woman.”