Our lives have been shattered, says family of woman, 23, in heartbreaking tribute as they vow to keep legacy alive | The Sun

THE family of a young Irish woman who died suddenly have told how they have been left "shattered" by her death – as they paid a heartbreaking tribute to her.

Paige Brown was just 23 years old when she passed away on January 22, 2022.

The young woman from East Belfast had suffered with her mental health since the death of her close school friend.

Paige's sister Schannon spoke out about the "lack of support available" to her sister, who began to self harm after her friend's death.

Schannon remembered her sister as a "hilarious, kind and loving" person who was "the life and soul" of any party.

In a heartbreaking tribute almost one year after Paige's death, Schannon said: "Although Paige had a history of self harm, she appeared to be in a really good place in her life with her job and friends and her wee dog at home.

"Although time has passed, we as a family have never and will never move on from Paige's passing.

"Our lives have been shattered and as big milestones happen without her here – such as engagements and weddings, birthdays and Christmas – it just becomes even harder because reality has only really now set in that she is gone and we aren't living in some horrible dream."

Paige came from a big family and was one of eight siblings, who have vowed to keep her legacy and memory alive.

Schannon admitted her fears that Paige will be "forgotten about as time moves on" but the family continues to share messages of hope.

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She told Belfast Live: "Most importantly for us, we talk about Paige a lot – we want to share our memories and laugh together as we remember her because our memories are where Paige still lives vividly and for her niece and nephews, our recollections and stories of Paige along with photos and videos will keep her memory alive for them too.

"To us – she is our Paigey. To her friends – she's PaigeyB.

"We would have moved the world to keep her here forever. Now she'll forever be 23."

As part of this awareness campaign in an effort to help others who are struggling, the Brown family set up a Facebook page called Paige's Journey just before what would have been her 25th birthday on October 22.

On her birthday, Paige's mum and younger brother climbed Stairway to Heaven in Fermanagh and left a t-shirt and a letter at the top.

The letter asked whoever was reading to take them both to another location and update them on the Facebook page in the hopes that Paige's memory would travel the world.

The items have made it across Ireland to Cork and internationally, with someone bringing it to a location in France.

Paige's mum hopes to sell more t-shirts and donate the funds to charities in Northern Ireland who help anyone feeling low and in need of a place to talk and the families grieving loved ones who have passed.

Last year, her siblings took part in the Belfast Marathon 8 mile walk to raise funds for Lighthouse and this month, Paige's sister Stephanie will shave her head as part of a fundraiser.

Schannon said: "Seeing Paige’s memory travel with the t-shirt and letter gives us an uplifting feeling every time we get an update that it has made it to somewhere new; and it starts a conversation about suicide and the impact it has on those left behind."

The Browns are urging those suffering with their mental health to reach out and talk "so they don't become a statistic later".

Schannon added: "We would have done anything in the world to help Paige if we knew what it was we could do so we hope spreading awareness on suicide and promoting the importance of reaching out when you're struggling helps somebody."

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Supports available to those in Northern Ireland include AwareNI, PIPs,Lighthouse and Survivors of Suicide Belfast.

In the Republic, people can reach out to Samaritans Ireland, Pieta House and Aware.

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