A brave mum who battled with motor neurone disease (MND) while raising her two young daughters has tragically died on Christmas Eve.
Jennifer Bell, 29, passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning one day before Christmas.
The warrior mum was given months to live when she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) before the age of 30 in March 2019.
But she exceeded expectations and battled the rare condition where parts of the nervous system become damaged, causing muscles to weaken over time.
Jennifer, of Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland, leaves behind two daughters, Georgia, nine, and one-year-old Kacey.
In a heartbreaking tribute, her dad David Bell said: “With a very heavy heart, my beautiful daughter Jennifer passed peacefully in the early hours of this morning.”
A single mum to Georgia and Kacey, Jennifer refused to let the disease control her life and celebrated Christmas with her daughters in 2019.
She also took the girls on a dream trip to Disneyland, threw a birthday party for Georgia and celebrated Kacey’s first birthday.
Best friends Moyra, Jena and Cheryl praised Jennifer for her bravery and strength in a touching joint tribute.
They said: “We could not have asked for a better friend. She showed us the true meaning of being brave and strong no matter what.
“We will be forever proud of her for being the best mum to Georgia and Kacey, for raising so much money and awareness for MND and for touching the hearts of so many people.”
Inspirational Jen graduated from Caledonian University with a BSc in learning disability nursing shortly after being diagnosed.
The student nurse was seven months pregnant with little Kacey when a relative noticed that her speech sounded like she was wearing braces in 2019.
But she put her symptoms down to the stress of being a pregnant mum and a full-time student and working nightshifts but by the time she gave birth her speech had worsened.
Jennifer’s GP had told her the slurred speech was down to hormones following pregnancy and asked her to return in eight weeks.
Then in March 2019, she was diagnosed with MND and was given nine months to live.
Her symptoms left her unable to speak, swallow water or eat food without choking.
And with the coronavirus pandemic forcing her into lockdown, she admitted to feeling exhausted.
In May this year, Jennifer made the difficult decision to move into the Marie Curie Hospice in Glasgow for her ‘final chapter’.
At the time, she told of her heart being shattered by leaving her two girls but that she wanted to protect them so they would remember their mum and not her disease.
Before entering the hospice, Jennifer created memory boxes, wedding presents, 18th and 21st birthday presents for her two girls, and gifts for her first grandchildren so she would be a part of their lives.
Despite the odds, she continued to share her battle online, reaching hundreds of people across the world who were touched by her story.
In open letters she encouraged people not to take life for granted and to count their blessings.
Jennifer spent her final months raising awareness for Motor Neurone Disease.
A total £80,000 was raised for MND Scotland from her own fundraiser, although thousands more was raised in her name.
She was also the face of the MND Scotland Cornflower ball which raised more than £92,000.
Mr Bell added: “I want to thank everyone for their support and kindness everyone has shown towards my darling daughter and my family.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Marie Curie for the care they gave Jennifer.”