A BRAVE woman who battled cystic fibrosis has died aged just 30 ­— after spending her life supporting others with the genetic disease.

Her family are now raising awareness, hoping her lifelong dedication to helping those with the condition will live on.

Denise Henderson, from Hall i’ th’ Wood, was first diagnosed with cystic fibrosis aged just nine months.

Instead of enjoying the first few months with her baby, mum Dawn was terrified as she watched her daughter being constantly sick, and her skin bruise every time she was picked up by her parents.

She spent the next years in and out of hospital, sometimes staying at home for only four weeks a year.

Despite her pain, Denise’s proud mum Dawn Henderson said she never stopped smiling.

She said: “Her laugh was contagious, she would laugh at anything and it would echo all around the hospital. She was always so selfless, even though she was so poorly.”

The disease became so destructive Denise needed a liver transplant at 19, but she never stopped living life to the full.

Mrs Henderson, 56, said: “She went through the mill and she came out the other side.

“She would never let it beat her — she said she would not be Denise without the illness.”

The genetic condition affects more than 10,500 people in the UK and attacks the lungs, liver and other major organs, leaving sufferers trying to fight off infections.

Even with daily treatments, the life expectancy of someone with cystic fibrosis is just 37.

There is currently no cure for the disease and charities such as Cystic Fibrosis Trust fundraise for cutting edge research and more support for those with the condition.

Denise herself worked to fundraise for the charity, as well as organising fun days for the Pearce Ward at Wythenshawe Hospital, where cystic fibrosis patients are treated.

One of the biggest impacts Denise made during her life was on the young people coming onto the ward for the first time.

Her mum added: “Denise would welcome everyone, she was the mother hen, it did not matter how ill she was. She would always tell them to take their medication, if they got a cold she would tell them to phone the ward. That’s how Denise was — she would always want to look after everyone.”

On New Year’s Day, Denise’s family began to realise that she was suffering an infection that she would not overcome.

The next day, Denise died — her life cut short by the disease.

But her mum says her life will always be remembered.

Mrs Henderson said: “I’m so grateful to have had Denise. She’s left such a dent on everybody who knew her, they will never forget her. She was unique, they broke the mould when they made Denise. We miss her so much.”

In her final hours, Denise was still thinking of others. Instead of flowers at her funeral, she asked for donations to be made to the Pearce Ward. The service will be held at 2pm on January 22 at Overdale West Chapel.