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Lived ‘to the fullest’

Mary Long-Irwin says seeing her 35-year-old-daughter struggle to breathe in the final days of her life was a nightmare. Carla Stamp passed away at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto Tuesday night.
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Carla and Jeff Stamp. (Facebook)
Mary Long-Irwin says seeing her 35-year-old-daughter struggle to breathe in the final days of her life was a nightmare.

Carla Stamp passed away at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto Tuesday night. Stamp became a well-known face for her yearly appearances on the Cystic Fibrosis Mother Day telethon. She also became an advocate for those with Cystic Fibrosis and helped many who suffered with the disease.

About two years ago, Stamp contracted a virus that compromised her lungs. Stamp went in and out of the hospital for the past year and a half and doctors gave her just a few years to live.

Stamp beat the odds and was able to survive with the virus for about two years.  Long-Irwin said her daughter lived her life to the fullest and on Sept. 2 of this year she was married to her husband, Jeff Stamp. 

Two days after she was married, Stamp was taken to the hospital.

Long-Irwin said she and the rest of the family waited and hoped that Stamp would breathe on her own, but when she contracted pneumonia her health deteriorated quickly and she wasn’t able to recover.

“Just watching your child struggle to breathe is just a nightmare,” Long-Irwin said. “She fought really hard but she ended up losing that battle. It has been a nightmare. I would never ever wish this upon anybody.”

“Carla was very positive person. She always went along for the ride. She never ever felt sorry that she had Cystic Fibrosis.

“A few days before she went into the ICU, she explained to me, because she knew something was wrong, she said to me that ‘I just want to make sure that you understand that I don’t regret anything in my life at all. I got to live and do everything I wanted to do including getting married.’”

Long-Irwin said it was a fairytale wedding and Stamp was able to see some of the wedding photos before she was sedated.

“She had her dream wedding and she married an amazing young man,” she said.

“That night of the wedding she needed oxygen. She was going to go on a transplant list right after she got married. There wasn’t a need for it before.”

Long-Irwin said they will be bringing the ashes back to Thunder Bay for a public memorial but hadn’t set a date yet.

Karen Danelisky, a long-time friend of Stamp, said she hasn’t slept since she heard the news.
“We lost one of our Cystic Fibrosis angels in town,” Danelisky said. “Hopefully she’s in a better place. I don’t think she ever let (Cystic Fibrosis) stop her. You would never know if you saw her that she had CF and had a fatal illness.

“Her theory was that she was going to live her life on her terms and I think she pretty much did.”

Danelisky has known Stamp since she was four-years-old. Danelisky was in Grade 8 and worked with Stamp when she was in Kindergarten. She used to meet her every day when she got off the school bus.

She said she was the most precious little girl she has ever met.

“She wanted people to know that just because you have CF that they weren’t any different than the rest of us,” she said.

“They deserve the same chances and they can do the same things. They may be a little slower and with a little bit more effort but they could do just what we could do. She wanted to let people know that CF didn’t stop people.”