Devoted son’s tribute to ‘rock of the family’ mum who battled sepsis and kidney failure

A devoted son has given a tribute to his “remarkable” mum, who was “the rock of the family,” following her death at the age of 59. Wendy Baker, who lived in St Giles, Lincoln for most of her life, died of sepsis on Saturday, July 16.

Ms Baker’s son, James Baker, 31, is now raising money to give his mum “the send-off she deserves.” He said that despite experiencing a difficult childhood, his mum always remained the strong foundation of the family.

Ms Baker was first diagnosed with kidney failure at the age of 33 when Mr Baker was only six years old. He and his younger sister Katie quickly learnt how to set up their mum’s dialysis machine, which would then be part of a four-hour process that Ms Baker had to undertake every other day to maintain her kidneys.

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Wendy Baker with James' niece Ava.
Wendy Baker with James’ niece Ava. (Image: James Baker)

Mr Baker, who lives in Lincoln with his partner and two children, said the family also experienced an “emotional toll” during their childhood when his dad struggled to cope with the death of his own father. He said his mum “remained constant” and stood by his dad’s side throughout this time and was “the rock and foundation of the family.”

He said: “We’ve had a tough life with everything that’s gone on but mum was the one that was always fighting through everything and swept everything aside. She was the rock of the family.

“As 10-year-old kids, we knew how to set the dialysis machine up. It was a difficult childhood, we didn’t come out unscathed.”

Despite childhood difficulties, Mr Baker said their house in St Giles was “the neighbourhood centre piece” and compared it to a fisherman’s wife club. Three years ago, Ms Baker was sadly then diagnosed with sepsis.

Mr Baker described finding out about the diagnosis as “a punch in the gut” due to the amount his mum had already had to endure but said she remained strong throughout the process. Mr Baker said: “Nothing could knock her down.

“She’d be in pain every single day but still carry on and make sure everything was okay.” Mr Baker and his sister visited their mum at Lincoln County Hospital every day for a week before she died.

He said: “Every day we went it was gradually getting worse and we knew the end was near. Because my mum had been ill for so long and we’d seen her suffer it was obviously upsetting but we know she isn’t in pain now.

She was the sort of woman who would lend you her last tenner. It’s given my sister and me the outlook on life that these little things you go through don’t matter.”

Mr Baker said he wants to “massively thank” everyone who has donated to the fundraiser so far to go towards organising a funeral for his mum. He said: “We don’t want it to be a morbid, sad affair.

“We want it to be a happy affair and give her the send-off she deserves.” People can donate to the fundraiser for Wendy Baker’s funeral here.

The UK Sepsis Trust states: “Every three seconds, someone in the world dies of sepsis. In the UK alone, 245,000 people are affected by sepsis with at least 48,000 people losing their lives in sepsis-related illness’ every year.

“This is more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Globally, sepsis claims 11 million lives a year. Yet, for many patients, with early diagnosis, it is easily treatable.”

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