Pendle 19-year-old makes bucket list following terminal brain cancer diagnosis
From seeing Sir Paul McCartney in concert to visiting the Heinz baked bean factory, a Barrowford 19-year-old has made a bucket list following her diagnosis with terminal brain cancer with her and her family still raising crucial funds for experimental immunotherapy treatments.
Ever the model student, Laura Nuttall had earned a place at the prestigious King's College University to study International Relations when she began experiencing headaches and sickness last October, chalking it down to a bout of fresher's flu. It was only when a routine eye test as part of her application to join the Navy reserves showed some swelling behind her eye that she was referred to hospital.
Diligent as always, Laura first returned to uni to give a presentation on Iraq before meeting with a neurologist. So ill that her mother Nicola and sister Grace had to travel down to the capital to care for her, Laura had a CT scan at 3am early the next day which revealed she had numerous brain tumours.
"Six weeks after we had helped her get settled into her new university accommodation, we had the heartbreaking task of packing up and bringing her home again," said Nicola (48), with Laura undergoing successful surgery at Salford Royal to remove the largest tumour, which was the size of a golf ball.
Tragically, however, the surgery revealed the other tumours were incurable Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive, stage four cancer which has the lowest survival rate of any human cancer - the normal length of survival following diagnosis being around 12 to 15 months. The family were devastated.
"We were horrified to find out that the prognosis was so poor," said Nicola. "As a family, we couldn't believe that our beautiful, intelligent girl with so much life ahead of her was basically facing a death sentence. It's just heart-breaking."
Mark, Laura's dad told the BBC: "I'm dad, I fix things. But I can't fix this."
Having completed a six-week programme of radiotherapy and oral chemotherapy, Laura will soon start another six-month course of treatment. In the meantime, her and her family have come up with a bucket list and have already raised £88,000 of the £150,000 required to pay for alternative treatments which could prolong Laura's life.
"I'm trying to get on with my life, trying to make it as normal as possible but it's quite difficult when you've got something inside you trying to kill you," said Laura, who has been to see Sir Paul McCartney perform in concert, piloted the HMS Charger from Liverpool to Salford, and met Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Keen to help with the fundraising effort, Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Colne are holding a Running for Laura event on February 1st which will see children, staff, parents, and members of the local community aim to have at least three people running on their track at all times throughout the school day to raise money.
"At 18, with a whole life in front of her, she is now having to cope with the face that her remaining life will be very short," said a statement from the school, with those wishing to take part able to do so by contacting the school via email at [email protected] or by phone on 01282 864 362. "The family are beyond devastated."
Nicola added: "We don't have a lot of time and we're doing everything we can. Laura is an example to all of us with her positivity If you feel you could help by making a small donation, we would be so very grateful."
Laura's GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/ngdq37-doing-it-for-laura