An incredibly special woman is bringing people together – even after her sudden death.
Val King-Johnson, 42, was diagnosed with leukaemia on Friday, March 7 and, despite getting urgent treatment, died just four days later on March 11 after an adverse reaction to chemotherapy.
Her friend Lucinda Parish has set up a tribute Facebook page so that all the people she made an impact on could remember her.
Lucinda said: “I set up a Facebook page for her at 8.30am on March 12 called ‘Val – we will always miss you’.
“By 10pm that evening it had over 255 members and over 80 posts.”
The page soon surpassed 350 members and continues to grow.
Mother to son Jimmy, 20, and surrogate mother to twin nieces Stephanie and Susan, 26, Val lived in Shenley Brook End for 19 years.
Stephanie said: “The whole family is completely overwhelmed by the support from the Facebook page and all of the posts.
“For me and my twin sister, she made us what we are – our mother has said she will forever be in her debt.
“Val touched the lives of so many people.
“She was such a good character, everyone who met her said she made them feel instantly like her best friend.
“She went to Ska nights and made sure everyone was involved.
“As a skinhead in her younger years, she was even trying to make light of her chemo, saying that it would take her back to her youth if she lost her hair. She always thought of everyone else.”
Val was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) which is quite rare and difficult to treat.
Symptoms can be easily overlooked and include paleness, tiredness and breathlessness, unusual bleeding and bruising, feeling generally unwell and run down and having a fever and sweats.
Stephanie said: “She had bruises all over her body – little ones, big ones – but it is so easy to put them down to just knocking yourself. This is such a fast cancer, if anyone has any worries they should definitely get checked out.”
Val received treatment on the same day as her diagnosis.
Stephanie added: “Val had an adverse reaction to the chemotherapy – this is very rare.
“She was expecting treatment to be very intense but this adverse reaction to the chemo tablets meant her organs failed and, despite all best efforts, doctors couldn’t revive her.
“Ward 22 really looked after her – the nurses were always checking on her and making sure she was as OK as she could be.
“On the Monday she went downhill dramatically and her partner Stuart came in to say ‘bye’ before she was put into an induced coma.
“We don’t know whether she would have known she was not going to wake up, whether she could feel that she was going – but we do know at least she would not have been in any pain.”
Val worked at Morrisons before taking a job in Brinklow at Duravit UK Ltd.
Stephanie added: “She was especially known for loving her karaoke.
“She loved her job and they adored her at Duravit, in fact they are moving the office around so that no-one will be sat where she used to be.”
One of Val’s Facebook friends plans to run Race for Life MK in Val’s memory in June and is asking others who knew Val to join ‘Val’s Gals’ or sponsor their efforts see details at (http://www.justgiving.com/teams/Valsgals14).
More still are just keen to share their memories of the woman taken so suddenly from them.
Lucinda said: “It’s amazing how one woman could touch the hearts and souls of so many people with her heart of gold and brilliantly wicked sense of humour.
“A very special lady, she will be incredibly missed.”