Tributes as Leanne, 29, dies after receiving cancer 'all-clear'

Leanne Shields is ready to start living a new life after cervical cancer

Leanne Shields was ready to embark on new adventures after apparently surviving cancer. She had signed up for the Cancer Research Race for Life and wanted to learn to drive. - Credit: Leanne Shields

A woman who urged others to take up their cervical screening tests after putting off her own has died.

Leanne Shields, was told her cancer had returned and was inoperable in the summer after celebrating the "all-clear" and saying she was looking forward to "new adventures."

Her aunt Naomi Shields described her as "the bravest person I have ever known."

Leanne Shields, 29, is urging women to take up cervical screening

Leanne Shields, 29, shared her experience of having cervical cancer to encourage other women to take up their screening test. - Credit: Leanne Shields

A fundraising event is being staged on Thursday (October 21) at Burgh Hall in Burgh Castle to mark what would have been her 30th birthday, exactly a year since the bombshell diagnosis.

Miss  Shields was due to run the Cancer Research Race for Life on Sunday with her aunt but when it became clear she was not going to be able to take part, another family member Beth stepped in.

Leanne Shields is urging others to take up their cervical screening test

Leanne Shields has been hailed for her astonishing bravery in the face of a cervical cancer diagnosis on her 29th birthday. - Credit: Leann Shields

She said her courage in the face of the terminal diagnosis was an inspiration to everyone including the hospital consultant who was stunned at her determination to remain positive to the end.

She died at home just weeks after the terminal diagnosis.

Miss Shields lived on the Kingfisher site in Burgh Castle and was working at the Wild Duck holiday park in Belton at the time of her diagnosis.

"She looked the picture health in July," Mrs Shields said. "To watch that happen to her so quickly was frightening."

Leanne Shields take up cervical screening test plea

Leanne Shields said she had a new outlook on life after she looked to have beaten cervical cancer.  - Credit: Leanne Shields

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In the days before she died Miss Shields shaved her head to raise money for the Sandra Chapman Unit at Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital.

Inspired by her actions Mrs Shields' daughter Mabel, aged five, was keen to sign up for the Race for Life but was too young.

Instead she plans to tackle the 5k in Gorleston on Monday, October 25, and has already raised £800, with Race for Life organisers saying they will supply an official medal to mark her achievement.

Mrs Shields said Mabel was running with Leanne's proud blessing.

In the end she deteriorated so quickly that cards she had bought went unwritten, and a memory box for Mabel unfinished.

The fundraising event at Burgh Hall on Thursday featuring clairvoyant Jamie Brown, who is giving his time for free, is sold out but raffle tickets are available from Sherri Barfield via Facebook.

To sponsor five-year-old Mabel's Race for Life visit Leanne and Naomi's page via

Leanne's lifesaving legacy

The 29-year-old  was a passionate advocate of cervical screening, urging other young women to always take up the invitation.

She told this newspaper that by sharing her story she hoped other women, especially those who thought they were too young,  would realise the implications of delaying or missing a test.

Cervical screening is offered every three years for women aged 25 to 49, and every five years for those aged 50 to 64.

It checks for cell changes in the cervix which could be a sign of cancer.

The test itself should take less than a few minutes and is usually done by a female nurse or doctor.

It is estimated that screening saves around 4,500 lives a year in England, by picking up the early signs of cancer before symptoms are felt.