A 20-year-old woman went out shopping on her birthday before collapsing and dying weeks later.
Brazil Walsh, known as Be, from Huddersfield, was a “fit and healthy” individual who always loved sport from horse riding to becoming a “master of judo” – gaining a blackbelt in the sport. On April 24, 2022, Be went out shopping in Leeds for the day to celebrate turning 20.
But sadly, not before long, the trip left the Honley resident collapsing and in a coma. On Friday June 3, Walsh sadly died, leaving those who loved her “absolutely heartbroken”.
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Be collapsed in Harvey Nichols in Briggate, Leeds, before she was rushed to St James’ University Hospital, a family friend said. She was later transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where she was diagnosed with encephalitis.
The rare but serious brain inflammation attacked the memory and vision part of her brain. Family member Kirsty Marshall on behalf of Be’s mum Lilibeth Walsh, and dad Mike Walsh said: “After numerous tests and numerous doctors from not only Leeds but London and Oxford as well, it was finally diagnosed. Unfortunately there is no cure and her brain could not cope any longer, the virus had spread throughout.
“In advanced stages, individuals may lose the ability to walk, as their muscles stiffen or spasm. There is progressive deterioration to a coma. In a matter of weeks Be went from being forgetful but able to talk, to being unable to communicate at all.
“Be was a fun loving, passionate, caring young woman. She was fit, healthy and a master of judo.”
Best friend Mia Cruickshanks said: “Brazil collapsed and was taken to hospital on her birthday. She spent almost five weeks fighting Dawson’s disease. On June 3 Brazil gained her angel wings.
“We (her best friends) are absolutely heartbroken and want to help give her the most amazing send off. Anyone who knows Brazil knows that she was the most amazing, beautiful, kind, funny and talented young lady who was loved beyond measure.”
Be’s family and friends are now planning to raise £1,000 for Leeds General Infirmary neurosciences department. They also want to raise awareness of brain inflammation in young people, adding: “we hope that this will help save even one life from this awful virus.”
Be’s former horse riding teacher is hosting a fundraising event on June 25 at the stables where Be used to train. Trainer Emma Louise said: “I was her horse riding instructor at Bradshaw Road stables and riding school for many years. She was part of the stables family. She ended up pursuing her judo to a high level.
“We are absolutely heartbroken and want to help give her the most amazing send off. We also want to donate some money to charity.
“We are hosting a fundraiser ride. We want to see as many faces as possible on foot or on horse back. We will be taking collection buckets.”
To donate to the JustGiving page set up in honour of Brazil Walsh, click here.