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Family makes emotional plea in memory of "beautiful and strong" Jemma






Jemma Shearsby (pictured right with husband, Jake)

, previously known as Jemma Harrison and a former pupil of Park House School, Newbury, was just 21 when she died on February 24 at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, after a life-long battle with cystic fibrosis.
Her father Eddie Harrison, aged 57, mother Julie Ledbury, aged 47, (both pictured, bottom right) sister Jade Harrison and husband Jake Shearsby, both 24, are desperate to pay tribute to Mrs Shearsby by raising awareness of the life-threatening condition in the hope of encouraging more organ donors to come forward.
Mr Harrison said: “We are testament to the fact that you do lose children and wives.
“With a disease like cystic fibrosis, one of the main things is trying to gain weight, you look as if you have got anorexia.
“People would always stare and you would always hear ‘look at her’.
“People need to know that that’s not what it is.”
Mrs Shearsby was born with cystic fibrosis, a condition that affects the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestine.
Sufferers often require organ transplants, particularly of the lungs, to combat the condition, but Mrs Shearsby was too weak and under-weight for the surgery.
The family is hoping that more people will become organ donors after hearing of Jemma’s death and will have a greater understanding about cystic fibrosis.
Mr Harrison said: “To feel the loss that I’m feeling now, if it stopped anyone else feeling that loss it would be worth a pot of gold.
“Jemma did all she could to let people know what it was, to stop people looking at people and judging them without knowing what’s wrong.”
He concluded: “She was beautiful, bubbly and strong.
“There are three things in her life that she wanted to achieve: to get married, to have a child and to be a bridesmaid and thanks to Jake she has achieved all three.
“As a father, I know she was happy.”
Mr and Mrs Shearsby wed at a ceremony in the hospital on January 10 this year.
Tragically, Jemma's condition led to their daughter Lola being stillborn in June 2012.
Mr Shearsby said his wife’s popularity was a tribute to her memory.
“It is unbelievable how many people have written [tributes],” he said. “She was a very infectious character, a lot of people liked and knew her.”
Mrs Shearsby also leaves behind three nieces, Honey, aged six, Ella, aged four and Shatoya, 11 months.
A beer festival is being held at the Taste of England pub, Thatcham, on April 20 in her memory, organised by her driving instructor Brian Newman.
He said: “Jemma was absolutely brilliant, she always had a smile on her face.
“She was a lovely girl, such a smashing person, I just want to do what I can.”
All funds will be donated to the cystic fibrosis trust, and Mr Newman’s JustGiving page has racked up more than £150 in just two days.
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/brian-newman
A private funeral is being held this week.



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