A brave mother was determined to be be at her son's first day of school before cancer claimed her life the following day.

In a final act of defiance against the disease, 31-year-old Gemma Hogg checked out of the hospice where she had gone to die to see her middle son, four-year-old Thomas, start at infant school.

Her father Peter Carpenter said: She was amazing. She still made the effort to take Tom to school the day before she died. She really wanted to see him in his school uniform - that was her goal.'


After seeing Thomas start class at, she then returned to the hospice in Crawley, Sussex, and passed away a day later on Tuesday, September 7, surrounded by her family. Mrs Hogg was also mother to Isabelle, six, and James, two

Speaking about his wife of five years to the Surrey Advertiser, Simon Hogg, 42, said: 'She was so happy as a mother. It seemed to complete her. She was never interested in material things, she just loved having her family around her. She wasn't supposed to come out of the hospice but that was Gemma - she was stubborn to the end.'

Mrs Hogg, from Sutton, Surrey, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer - an aggressive form of the disease which affects just four per cent of sufferers.. The diagnosis came shortly before the Hogg family were due to relocate to France, and with all their furniture already in France, they had to move into her parents' home.

She endured six months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy. .

Her husband, an IT project manager, considered taking legal action against the NHS, for what he believes was a 'long summer of misdiagnosis' after a lump, initially discovered by his wife in around 2007, was dismissed as harmless breast tissue, then mastitis, and was later treated as a cyst.

It was only when Mrs Hogg paid to go private that the severity of her condition was discovered.

Mr Hogg said: 'Inflammatory breast cancer is hard to diagnose, especially after a baby has been born because the symptoms are similar to mastitis.

'With Gemma, the lump she had spread to her skin so when it was diagnosed it was at stage three.'

He added: 'She was always positive and never moaned about things and she wanted to be treated normally and make the most of what she had.'

Mrs Hogg got the all-clear last spring but went back for more tests when she started suffering from sore ribs. In October 2009 a scan revealed cancer spots in her lungs.

In January 2010, Mrs Hogg was told the cancer had spread and was incurable. But instead of dwelling on the condition, the courageous mother-of-three began preparing her children for her passing.

Her father said: 'She had some cushions made with her photo on them with each of the three children with the words "When you need a cuddle I'm always here".'

She also made memory boxes, wrote a journal of her life and had an abundance of photographs taken of her family.

Her husband said: 'Gemma didn't have a bad bone in her body. She was so happy-go-lucky and loved life. She touched a lot of people throughout her life. She was a beautiful person, inside and out.'

Her mother Frances Carpenter said: 'She was always a happy girl from the day she was born. She was good natured and loved to laugh. We were all so proud of her.'

Now the family hope her story will help raise awareness of the disease.

Donations can be made to St Catherine's Hospice, where Gemma was receiving care, at www.justgiving.com/gemmas-journey