A woman’s potentially deadly brain tumour has stolen her greatest pleasure in life – holding and cuddling her GRANDCHILDREN.
Nicola Allender, 46, is now unable to pick up her two grandkids and feels they have been “taken away” from her.
She has been diagnosed with glioblastoma – one of the deadliest forms of cancer.
One of the symptoms means she loses control of her hands and arms and can’t pick up her grandchildren.
The grandmother-of-two is currently undergoing intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy but she could have just months to live.
Medics are now trying to keep the disease – which Tessa Jowell MP is also battling – at bay but Nicola knows it’s a “matter of time” before it kills her.
Nicola, a mum-of-two, had a sudden seizure and collapsed on the stairs at her home in Ecclesfield, South Yorks., on November 25 last year.
She was put into an induced coma and remembers waking up in hospital four days later, by which time surgeons had removed part of the brain tumour.
Medics have been unable to pinpoint the origin of the illness but Nicola suffered from a bad neck three months prior to her first seizure.
She has told how there were no symptoms until the day of the seizure when she felt a sharp pain above her eyebrows.
The receptionist, who had worked in the A&E department at the Northern General Hospital for more than 20 years, has since suffered many more seizures and the tumour has now grown back larger.
Nicola’s vision has deteriorated so badly she can no longer read, has limited movement on the left side of her body and often gets muddled over words.
She is now unable to pick up her two grandchildren, one-year-old Harlyn and six-year-old Harrison, which has left her “upset most days”.
She said: “My grandchildren are my life and I feel like that’s been taken away from me because I can no longer pick them up and cuddle them.
“Sometimes I lose control and my hand forms a claw shape and my arm will suddenly flap up by itself, which can be unfortunate for people around me.”
Despite the tumour, which she calls a ‘tuna’ as it sounds less threatening, Nicola is determined to make the most of what time she has left with friends and family.
She wants to use her fight to raise awareness of brain cancer and the need for more funding into treatments and a possible cure.
Her friends are showing their support by raising money to buy Nicola a walk-in bath, which she now needs – with any additional cash raised going to The Brain Tumour Charity.
Nicola’s close friend Nikki Holman, 25, a beauty therapist, said: “It has stopped her being independent. It’s more frustrating than anything.
“All she can remember is waking up in hospital and cannot remember anything of the seizure.
“Doctors cannot give her a prognosis, she could only have a few months to live.
“What they are trying to do is keep the tumour at bay and keep her alive as long as possible, but she knows the tumour is going to kill her.”
She added: “Nicola had a bad neck for three months before the seizure but doctors cannot say if that’s linked to the brain tumour or not.
“She could not move a certain way and her neck was really stiff. She was in pain with it and was going to a physiotherapist.
“At the time, we put it down to her maybe turning around in her seat too quickly but there is nothing significant to say that was definitely the reason.”
Nikki is organising a raffle to raise money for her and for The Brain Tumour Charity.
Raffle tickets, costing £2 each or £5 for a strip of three, are on sale at the Northern General Hospital’s A&E department and at Perfection Hair and Beauty.
Former Labour frontbencher Mrs Jowell was diagnosed with glioblastoma in May 2017 and was told no further treatment was available on the NHS.
She opened up about her cancer diagnosis ahead of a highly-anticipated speech in the House of Lords to call for more experimental treatments to cancer.
According to The Brain Tumour Charity, less than two percent of the money spent researching cancer in the UK is used for brain tumour research – despite around 30 people in the UK being diagnosed each day with the disease