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Hayley blew me a goodbye kiss, took four or five breaths... and she was gone; Mother shares teen's final moments.


THE heartbroken mother of tragic Hayley Okines has told of their final moments together and how her inspirational daughter's legacy will live on.

The teenager who won the nation's hearts while suffering from rare premature ageing disorder progeria, which gave her the body of 104-year-old, died on Thursday.

Just hours earlier she had blown a final kiss goodbye to her mum Kerry in hospital, promising to get some muchneeded rest.

Speaking for the first time since Hayley's death, grieving mum Kerry said: "As she lay in her hospital bed I made her promise me she would get some sleep so I could bring her home the next day. And she whispered, 'Promise'."

It was the final word 17-year-old Hayley spoke. An hour later, holding her mum's hand, she took her last breath.

Earlier in the day courageous Hayley had been allowed home to Bexhill, East Sussex, one last time after begging doctors to let her out of hospital where she had been battling pneumonia.

beloved There she relaxed with dad Mark, brother Louis, 12, sister Ruby, nine, and her beloved puppies Molly, Dolly and Angel.

Kerry, 41, added: "She was really frail and on oxygen so she couldn't speak much. However, she made up for that by smiling. She was so happy and it was such a precious time."

The family had no idea it was the last time Hayley would be home.

At 5pm Kerry and former husband Mark, 54, drove Hayley back to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.

Kerry recalled: "We settled Hayley back into bed and we even managed to watch Masterchef together.

"Mark was set to stay the night with her while I drove back home with Ruby. As I went to leave she blew me a kiss.

"And I said if she could get some sleep, then hopefully she could come home again the next day."

But minutes later Mark called Kerry. She said: "He said it was serious so I turned the car around. But it was only when I got back to the hospital and saw Hayley and how ill she was I realised the time had come. Mark was on one side and I was on the other. I told Hayley I loved her and how proud I was of her."

Kerry's mum Pam had told her Hayley had confided in her final weeks that she was too frightened to go to sleep.

But as she watched her daughter struggling, she told her: "If you need to rest, if you need to go, then that's OK."

Kerry added: "She took four or five breaths and she was gone."

Until falling ill two weeks earlier, the teenager was living life to the full.

She was just two when diagnosed with the disorder, which is so rare there are only 50 known cases worldwide.

Doctors warned her parents she was unlikely to live beyond the age of 13 but Hayley defied their predictions after pioneering drug treatment.

She wrote two autobiographical books - Old Before My Time, when she was just 14 - and the recently-published Young At Heart - before winning a place to study media at college.

Proud mum Kerry told the Sunday Mirror: "She excelled at writing, getting distinctions in all her exams.

She was so well she hardly ever took a day off."

But Hayley knew only too well time was running out. She made a bucket list and set about ticking them off. She travelled the world, swam with dolphins, appeared in a series of Channel 5 shows and met Prince Charles, Kylie Minogue and Justin Bieber.

However, in her last three months Hayley had begun to feel tired.

Kerry explained: "She'd say during the day she was going to have a short nap. It was unlike her."

Nevertheless, when Hayley complained of a sore throat two weeks ago, Kerry was not unduly worried. She added: "I just thought it was one of the usual bugs doing the rounds. The doctor prescribed antibiotics and we thought she would get better."

But a week later Hayley's condi-tion worsened and she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

She fought the illness but her frail body finally lost the battle.

Kerry said: "In some ways I feel relief because Hayley's death was so peaceful.

LUCKY "And I feel so lucky to have had Hayley. Yes she had progeria but that made her who she was.

"Hayley had a fantastic life and I feel privileged to have been a part of it."

The family are now planning the perfect send-off and Kerry then hopes to have her daughter's ashes made into a diamond ring.

She added: "The thought I will never see Hayley again is unbearable. But every time I look at that ring, I will know she is still somehow with me." See the page to donate to Kerry's ring appeal.


Puppy love: Smiling Hayley relaxing at home with her dogs

Joy: with mum, dad & Louis

on Close: Kerry and Haley
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 5, 2015
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