A young woman in England died Sept. 20 of cervical cancer after her symptoms were initially dismissed by doctors as “growing pains.”
Kirstie Wilson was diagnosed with the cancer three years ago. She finally asked to be referred to a specialist after seeing her doctor for the same symptoms three times over four months.
Wilson underwent surgery and was later given the all-clear.
Two years later, the cancer had not only returned but also spread to other organs. Three months of intense chemotherapy proved ineffective, and Wilson died at the age of 21.
English soccer player John Terry, who met Wilson as part of a bucket list she created before her death, responded to the news of her passing on Instagram.
“I heard the terrible and heartbreaking news today,” he wrote. "So young. I will get in touch with Kirstie’s family."
“It was Kirstie’s character and determination that prolonged her life,” Wilson’s father, Gary, said, according to the Daily Mail. “Right up until the end she was positive, fighting. She was one in a million as a daughter; I couldn’t have asked for anyone better."
"She died peacefully in her own bedroom just as she had wanted, surrounded by her family and her memorabilia," he added.
Before her death, Wilson advocated for on-demand Pap smears and the improvement of drug access in the U.K. — even getting involved in a petition that criticized cuts to the Cancer Drug Fund.
She raised more than $9,000 for cancer research before she died, the Daily Mail reported.
“I just wanted to give something back to the charities that have helped me,” Wilson said at the time.
“I hope other young women read my story and look out for cervical cancer symptoms,” she added. "I strongly believe that no matter your age a smear test should be given on demand."