A cheerleader found hanged in her university bedroom has today been remembered as a “beautiful, vibrant” young woman.
Alexandra Wilshaw, 21, had shown no signs of depression before she was tragically discovered at Durham University in Durham, England in March 2018.
Now her mom Carole Fowkes, 51, has revealed the heartache at losing her only child.
“We never knew there was anything wrong. She used to be perfectly fine when we spoke to her over Facetime — I would ask her if anything was wrong and she would tell me that she was OK — she’d seem happy,” she told Lincolnshire Live.
“You just wouldn’t have known, she kept it all to herself. There were no signs at all.”
She said her daughter had struggled with anxiety before but said the young woman had seemed excited about the future while in her third year studying maths at uni.
“She was really vibrant,” Fowkes added.
“Alexandra was a bubbly and outgoing girl, she was actually quite loud and funny.”
She said she had received a knock at the door at 4 a.m. in March last year, with police telling her Wilshaw had been rushed to intensive care after being found.
But despite doctors’ best efforts, the young woman was declared brain dead and died March 18.
Since Alexandra’s death, Durham Castle Society has started an awareness campaign in her honor.
“Alexandra Scarlett Wilshaw was a young woman who experienced life with intensity, its highs and lows, and challenges. She tragically died last year by suicide,” they said.
“Alexandra read maths at Durham University and was a member of University College. She inspired many through her blog, volunteered with Castle Community Action, participated in the cheerleading squad, loved her family and friends, and reached out to many.
“Last year, the College and Alexandra’s family established a fund in Alexandra’s name to help promote awareness of anxiety, depression and the risk of suicide, and better ways to cope with these issues.”
Since Wilshaw’s death, her mother has worked to raise funds in her daughter’s memory.
“I’d urge parents to be more aware and vigilant and make sure your children really are OK,” she said.
“Tragically it’s too late for Alex but we must all do what we can to highlight the growing mental health crisis among students and schoolchildren.”