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Thursday, Jun 08, 2023

Laura Nuttall: Bucket list brain cancer fundraiser dies

Laura Nuttall: Bucket list brain cancer fundraiser dies

A woman who ticked off a bucket list of ambitions while living with terminal cancer has died, her mother has said.

Laura Nuttall was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in 2018 and was given an initial prognosis of 12 months.

In 2021, she said after she got her diagnosis, she had chosen "to do something about it and stay positive".

Paying tribute to the 23-year-old on Twitter, Nicola Nuttall said Laura had been "fierce and tenacious to the end".

"I'm heartbroken to share the news that we lost our beautiful Laura in the early hours of this morning," she said.

She said it had "truly" been the "honour of my life to be her mum".

"We are devastated at the thought of life without our girl," she added.

"She was a force of nature."

Laura Nuttall (left) was given an initial prognosis of 12 months


Accepting a BBC Radio Lancashire Make A Difference award in 2021, Laura, who was from Barrowford, said she did not want people just to focus on her cancer, "because what is the point in that?"

"What sort of legacy will I leave if I just focus on myself and not others?" she said.

"The day I was diagnosed with brain cancer, I just thought 'I've got two options... I could say all right, that's fine, I'm going to sit here and die or am I going to do something about it and stay positive?' and that is what I chose to do."

Laura was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, following a routine eye test.

She was later found to have eight tumours and, in 2018, was given just a year to live.

However, she went on to work her way through her list of ambitions, which saw her meet Michelle Obama, command a Royal Navy ship, graduate from the University of Manchester and present the weather on BBC North West Tonight.

In 2021, comedian Peter Kay, who worked with Ms Nuttall's father, Mark, played his first gigs in four years to raise money for her treatment.

In March, she underwent treatment in Germany, which followed her fourth major operation in October 2022 to remove a tumour.

The comic took her and her family out to lunch a few weeks later after Ms Nuttall was told the tumour had grown back and the family then brought forward Christmas after being told it had spread further.

Mr Nuttall tweeted he was "heartbroken" and losing Laura had left "a huge chasm".

He said the family were "so very proud of her and what she achieved in her short life".

"Her flame burned so brightly, unfortunately, not nearly for long enough," he said.

He added that the family would continue "to support the charities and beliefs which were very dear and important to Laura".


'Grit and compassion'


Jack Morris, the chairman of trustees at the Brain Tumour Charity, said they were "so proud of everything she achieved" and "so honoured to have been able to call her a much-adored friend and ambassador".

"Since her diagnosis in 2018, Laura was steadfast in her determination to share her story to raise vital awareness of glioblastomas, their devastating impact and the need for greater investment in research," he said.

He said Ms Nuttall had become "one of our incredible Young Ambassadors in 2019", a role in which she had "touched the hearts and minds of so many, reaching out to offer comfort and hope to others going through similar diagnoses".

He added that in the face of "such an impossibly difficult diagnosis at such a young age", Ms Nuttall had carried herself with "so much grit and compassion [and] so often with a beaming smile" and her determination to "live life to the full never failed to inspire everyone she met".

The University of Manchester's Prof Jackie Carter said Ms Nuttall had been "an incredible and spirited young woman" who had "defied all the odds" to complete her studies.

"I got to know Laura and her amazing family well during her time here, as my own son has incurable brain cancer," she said.

"I'll never forget her telling me when we were raising money together at Manchester Pride that she wanted people to know who she was as a person, and see her determination, rather than just being seen as someone with cancer."

Many people have paid tribute to her on social media, including comedian Diane Morgan, who had previously recorded a message of support.

She said she felt she had got to know Laura through Nicola's posts and she "was an amazing person".

Thumbs Up for Charlie, a charity which was set up in memory of a five-year-old boy who died of brain cancer, tweeted that Ms Nuttall had been "an inspirational young woman" who had "accomplished so much" and "whose legacy will live on".

On Facebook, her MP Andrew Stephenson said Laura would be "deeply missed by so many people, including me and my team".

He said he felt "very grateful to have got to know Laura" when she did work experience at both his Nelson and Westminster offices before she went to university.

He said she had dedicated herself to raising awareness of brain tumours "and to achieving as much as she could "in what time she had".

The charity Brain Tumour Research said it was "deeply saddened" at the news as "yet another brave soul lost to this devastating disease".

"Along with her family [Laura] did so much to raise awareness of this disease, and our thoughts are with her family at this time."

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