‘Tough cookie’ Laura’s brave bat­tle after shock can­cer dis­cov­ery


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By SI­MON SMITH news­[email protected] @MENnews­desk

THE fam­ily of a high-fly­ing stu­dent say they are dev­as­tated after what she thought was ‘fresher’s flu’ turned out to be at least six in­cur­able brain tu­mours.

Laura Nuttall was just weeks into her course when she started to suf­fer from headaches and nau­sea.

Laura, 19, put her symp­toms down to flu - but an eye test for the Royal Navy re­serves re­vealed un­ex­plained swelling in her op­tic nerve.

It led to her be­ing di­ag­nosed with glioblas­toma, which is the most ag­gres­sive brain can­cer in adults.

Laura has had chemo­ther­apy and ra­dio­ther­apy at The Christie Hospi­tal in Manch­ester and is set to em­bark on a six-month course of in­ten­sive chemo­ther­apy.

But her dev­as­tated fam­ily say they ac­cept that her “re­main­ing life will be very short.”

Fol­low­ing the heart­break­ing news, her mum Nicola, 48, is do­ing all she can to help Laura achieve her ‘bucket list.’

This in­cluded a trip to Liver­pool last month to see Sir Paul Mc­Cart­ney per­form in con­cert.

In De­cem­ber, for her 19th birth­day, Laura was a guest at Ever­ton Foot­ball Club, where she was able to meet the play­ers such as goal­keeper Jordan Pick­ford.

Nicola said: “Laura had her whole life ahead of her. Now she is hav­ing to cope with the fact that her re­main­ing life will be very short.

“As a fam­ily, we are be­yond dev­as­tated. We are try­ing to re­main pos­i­tive and look­ing into lots of al­ter­na­tive treat­ments and ther­a­pies - any­thing that will buy her a bit more time.

“Be­fore Laura’s di­ag­no­sis, none of us knew any­thing about brain tu­mours or how lit­tle is spent on re­search into this dis­ease com­pared with many other can­cers. “Now we know that when you’re di­ag­nosed with glioblas­toma, you’re told you’re go­ing to die. “There’s no ef­fec­tive treat­ment, as there can be with breast can­cer or prostate can­cer. It’s a death sen­tence.”

Laura, from Pen­dle, Lan­cashire, who achieved straight As in her A-levels, was start­ing a de­gree in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at King’s Uni­ver­sity in London when she started hav­ing headaches.

She was re­ferred to Moor­fields Eye Hospi­tal in London where she was ad­vised to re­turn for more tests.

The next day she was ex­tremely un­well so Laura asked her mum for help.

Nicola and her younger daugh­ter Grace, 17, trav­elled to London and took Laura straight to A&E.

It was at Homer­ton Hospi­tal in Hack­ney that Laura had a CT scan which re­vealed the heart­break­ing news – she had two brain tu­mours.

The next day after a more de­tailed MRI scan of Laura’s brain, it was iden­ti­fied that she had sev­eral more.

Laura had an op­er­a­tion in Novem­ber at Sal­ford Royal Hospi­tal to re­move the largest and most deadly growth.

It was then that she was told she had glioblas­toma, which is the most ag­gres­sive brain can­cer in adults. Nicola Nuttall, Laura’s mum

Her fam­ily are speak­ing out about Laura’s di­ag­no­sis through The Brain Tu­mour Char­ity to raise aware­ness of brain tu­mours.

This kills more young adults and chil­dren in the UK than any other type of can­cer.

Nicola de­scribed Laura – who spent the sum­mer work­ing in the US as an in­tern for the Gov­er­nor of Illi­nois, ran her first marathon last May and re­cently passed her ad­vanced driv­ing test with fly­ing colours – as ‘amaz­ingly de­ter­mined.’

She said: “The doc­tors didn’t think she’d be able to speak after her surgery but she proved them wrong. She’s a tough cookie.”

Less than three weeks after her surgery in Novem­ber, Laura de­fied the sick­ness and fa­tigue caused by her ra­dio­ther­apy and chemo­ther­apy treat­ment to travel with her fam­ily to St James’ Palace in London to re­ceive her gold Duke of Ed­in­burgh Award.

And shortly be­fore Christ­mas, Laura was awarded the A-Level pol­i­tics and gov­ern­ment prize at an emo­tional cer­e­mony at her for­mer school, Skip­ton Girls High.

Nicola plans to run the London Marathon in April to raise money for The Brain Tu­mour Char­ity fol­low­ing the sup­port she and her fam­ily have re­ceived.

Sarah Lind­sell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of The Brain Tu­mour Char­ity, said: “Laura and her fam­ily have had their world shat­tered in the cru­ellest way.

“We are pro­foundly grate­ful to them for their courage in speak­ing about their ex­pe­ri­ence at such a trau­matic time.

“No-one di­ag­nosed with a brain tu­mour at any age should have to live with­out hope of a cure.”

Laura with her A-Level gov­ern­ment and pol­i­tics cer­tifi­cate

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