Family, friends and St Ives sports clubs pay tribute to brave ‘Bowel Cancer Baller’ Charlene Martin
- Credit: Archant
The St Ives sporting community has lost a special lady.
Emotional tributes have been paid following the death of St Ives Town Ladies footballer and St Ives Rangers coach Charlene Martin.
Charlene lost her courageous three-year battle with bowel cancer last Friday night at the age of 34.
She is survived by husband, Neil, their children Caitlin (17), Tegan (14), Tyler (12) and Ava-Rae (3), and her step-son Kyle, 17.
Neil said: "Charlene was a strong and inspirational woman who was dedicated to raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.
"She worked tirelessly and selflessly to raise money to give something back.
"Charlene was also a wonderful mother and step-mother and gave her whole life for others.
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"She was a passionate footballer and fan with a love for St Ives Town and Manchester City, and she was a popular figure with all who came into contact with her."
Charlene was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2017 with a liver metastasis, which later spread to her bowl and lung. The symptoms were initially masked during her pregnancy with youngest daughter, Ava-Rae.
Charlene documented her battle online and through social media as the 'Bowel Cancer Baller'.
Despite the gravity of her situation, Charlene continued to post with openness and a sense of humour which was still evident as the end neared.
On being admitted to a hospice in January, she told her followers: "It's like a very lovely spa break with a sh***y ending!"
Charlene was also a dedicated fundraiser who made raising awareness of bowel cancer a priority while fighting her own battle - including persuading fellow cancer sufferers to strip off for a charity calendar.
Charlene certainly left a big impression on the football scene in St Ives too.
She was one of the original players for St Ives Town Ladies when being formed for the 2015/16 season.
Club founder and first-team manager Darren Marjoram said: "We are all heartbroken to have lost one of the original members of our St Ives Town Ladies family.
"No words can ever describe how Charlene was loved by everyone at the club.
"All of our thoughts are with Neil and their wonderful children at such a difficult time for them."
Charlene was also a qualified coach with the St Ives Rangers club which paid a glowing tribute.
It read: "When Charlene started as a coach, she had no experience and didn't even have a child in the team, but she stepped up to save a young team from folding.
"We have lost an incredible person taken too young and the light across our sport and community shines a lot less brightly now."
While Charlene will be hugely missed by many, the greatest loss of all will be felt by her family.
Eldest daughter, Caitlin, said: "You'd never have known the amount mum had on her plate because she was always so strong. Even at her weakest, she put other people's needs before her own.
"She fought right until the last moment - not only for herself but also for her family.
"She had so much love to give to other people and I just hope she knows how much we all had to give back to her."