Stephanie McManus, the woman who got her final wish to see her horse one last time Wednesday, died early Thursday morning.
'When I left her last night and kissed her goodnight, she actually said to me, "Today was my last day."' - Marc Stevens, McManus's partner
Less than 24 hours after friends managed to bring McManus cherished horse Luna to a Hamilton hospital to allow her to say a final goodbye, the 55-year-old Milton resident passed on.
Though she was in bright spirits after seeing Luna, loved ones knew that she wasn't well.
McManus was kept company in her final moments at Juravinski Cancer Centre by her sister Kathleen Livingston before she passed just after 5 a.m. ET. Livingston then called McManus's partner, Marc Stevens, with the news.
"It's been rough, obviously," Stevens told CBC News Thursday. "But I've had a lot of time to get ready for this moment."
"It was clear to me after all the press left, that she had been going on an adrenaline high that had taken a huge amount of energy on her part."
Still, in her final moments, McManus was content, Stevens said.
"With the ebbing of the energy came a certain grace, the knowledge that she was finished. When I left her last night and kissed her good night, she actually said to me, 'Today was my last day.'"
McManus was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in September 2013, a disease that destroys red blood and blood platelets and made her bones feel excruciatingly painful.
She had several highs and lows through her treatments. McManus had a stem cell transplant in February 2014, and went into a remission for the next 14 months. Then in June 2015, she had a relapse.
Stevens said that all throughout her difficulties, she was extremely positive about the care she received.
"She was ecstatic with the quality of care and compassion that she received over the course of the two years and five months, and she was incredibly grateful for that despite going through some ridiculous times and seemingly endless chemotherapy treatment that made her so nauseated for her last three months."
McManus was also overjoyed to see her horse, said Stevens, and she wanted to thank Zachary's Paws for Healing, the organization that helped her see Luna.
"We were saddened but joyful all the same time," said the organization's founder, Donna Jenkins.
"Stephanie so wanted to see her horse. I think she was still living for two reasons: one to see her horse and the other was for her brother to arrive from Vancouver. Once she saw Luna, and had met with loved ones, it was her time to say goodbye."
McManus leaves behind a 20-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son.