The exhibits will present important funds for Laura – who tells me she is “so completely honoured” – to proceed receiving her therapy. She was simply weeks into her first time period at King’s College London in 2018 when her tumours had been found. She had been hoping to be a part of the Royal Navy at college – the bodily included a watch take a look at, throughout which a Boots optician detected swelling behind her eyes.
“Laura phoned me and said, ‘I don’t really know what it is but they’ve told me to go to Moorfields Hospital now,” says Nicola. “When I look back, there were other symptoms we hadn’t picked up on. She would make strange decisions that were out of character.”
Laura was referred to a neurologist, however by the next day one thing felt flawed. “She phoned me and said I feel really bad, I can’t get out of bed.”
Nicola and her youthful daughter, Gracie, hotfooted it down to London. Hours later, they had been advised Laura had two brain tumours. The following day, an MRI scan revealed it was extra like eight. “It was the most unimaginable thing. It just didn’t make any sense. She’d just been to Chicago. She’d done a marathon in May. How could she have a brain tumour?”
Nicola packed up Laura’s college bed room – “we’d only unpacked six weeks earlier” – and introduced her residence. Surgery adopted two weeks later. Nicola will always remember the second a physician advised them that Laura’s most cancers was an invasive type referred to as glioblastoma. “That was the primary factor from my analysis that I didn’t need it to be.
“We had been all crammed on this tiny room, and Laura mentioned ‘so, can I go back to university this year or will it be next year now?’
“He looked horrified and said ‘Laura, you won’t ever be going back to university’.”
Given a prognosis of 12 months, she was advised to go away and make recollections. A year of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy adopted, and Laura started working via a bucket listing which noticed her flown to South Africa by British Airways to go on safari, and go to New York to see Saturday Night Live being filmed. “She met Michelle Obama,” says Nicola. “We went fishing with Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer. We went to a film première. She spent a day with the police.”
Meanwhile, Nicola was desperately researching cures. “To start with you just want to curl up in a ball and cry,” she says. When she realised the NHS’s limitations, she sprang into motion and located the groundbreaking therapy in Germany that Laura has been receiving for the previous year. “That’s what you do when a doctor has just told you your daughter has roughly a year to live.”
Laura, now 21 and going into her third year at Manchester University (she defied medical doctors, decided to maintain finding out), has travelled to Cologne each six weeks all through the pandemic to obtain immunotherapy and dendritic cell vaccines, which educate the physique to assault most cancers cells and value practically £30,000 each time.
“We’ve had massive challenges getting in and out of Germany,” says Nicola, who accompanies her daughter, except they’ll’t get a flight, through which case Mark, 58, drives all the way in which from Manchester. “There have been many times when we’ve been with the police thinking ‘please just let us through’.”
The couple run a play centre which has been out of motion via lockdown, and wouldn’t have had the funds to pay for Laura’s therapy. The price of Covid assessments alone are substantial. “When we went out in March we spent £1,600. And it cost £5,000 to send the tumour [for testing] because it has to stay frozen.”
Nicola has turn into an professional in glioblastoma. “You have to. There’s nothing you won’t do for your children. If it meant we had to sell the house and sleep in a tent, that’s what we’d do.”
They had been devastated in March when a scan confirmed a tumour had grown back and would require a second surgical procedure. But regardless of continuously being “one scan away from bad news”, the household – and Laura specifically – refuse to reside in worry. “There could be something just around the corner. You’ve got to keep hoping.”