Cancer campaigner 'would be thrilled by response to final message'

Kate Rackham and Mark Rackham
Kate Rackham, pictured with her husband Mark, founded a charity to help women with secondary breast cancer [Handout]

The husband of a teacher who shared her experiences with terminal breast cancer said she "would have been really pleased" with the response to her final message.

Kate Rackham left her family instructions to share a message on X urging her 17,000 followers "not to cry for me" after she died on 13 June.

The 46-year-old, from Manchester, helped set up the charity Fighting To Be Heard, which aims to support those living with incurable secondary breast cancer.

Her husband, Mark Rackham, said he had no idea how many people she had helped until after her death.

Kate with Mark
Ms Rackham's husband said she had left instructions for her final social media post [Family handout]

He told BBC North West Tonight: "She had this little phrase 'use the problem'.

"So she would always try and take something from the diagnosis and turn it into a positive somehow."

Mrs Rackham had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39, which later spread to other areas of her body.

The mother-of-two was told her diagnosis was terminal five years ago, which Mr Rackham described as "earth-shattering".

But despite limitations caused by her condition, such as having to give up running and drinking alcohol, Mrs Rackham tried to live as full a life as possible, her husband said.

He added: "It didn't stop her from being on the dance floor until two in the morning, it was me who wanted to go to bed."

'She was remarkable'

The Fighting To Be Heard foundation, set up in 2021 by 20 women including Mrs Rackham, aims to give a voice to those with the condition.

Kathryn Orr, who helps to run the charity, described Mrs Rackham as "remarkable in every way".

She said another member of the charity had also recently died, adding: "They knew they had limited time, but they chose to give their time to others in the same situations as themselves which is again, remarkable."

Ms Orr said the charity was releasing a book, the proceeds of which would help pay for therapy for children whose parents were living with secondary breast cancer.

Mr Rackham said since his wife's death her family and friends had received "lovely" messages from all over the world, as well as locally, from people who were helped by her advice.

Kate Rackham
Mark Rackham said his wife "would have been really pleased" with the response to her final message [Family handout]

When asked how he and his two daughters were coping, he said: "We're still in shock, it's five days on from when she died.

"We did everything we could to build resilience in the children. We constantly struggled with trying to have a strategy of how much have we said to them; are they informed? Have we been honest with them?

"But without, at the same time, creating chronic stress in a child's life. They have gone into school today.

"They wanted to see their friends. Kate told us, we have got to crack on, and that's what we're trying to do, so we just take each day as it comes."

Listen to the best of BBC Radio Manchester on Sounds and follow BBC Manchester on Facebook, X and Instagram. You can also send story ideas to northwest.newsonline@bbc.co.uk

More like this story