A young mum has defied the odds to stay alive two years after being told she had incurable cancer – and only six weeks to live.
Determined Lauren Neville was given the devastating diagnosis in May 2018 after doctors found an aggressive tumour in her brain.
The now 32-year-old had suffered daily seizures and depression for 24 months prior to her diagnosis which were dismissed by GPs as a ‘chemical imbalance’.
It was only after Lauren smashed into a tree after she blacked out at the wheel as she drove to work that doctors discovered she had an undiagnosed brain tumour.
Despite being told she only had weeks left to live, the determined mum-of-two continued her training as a mental health nurse and said she felt like she had been given a second chance at life.
The inspiring mum says she felt like she had no choice but to ‘live and be here for the kids’.
She had to learn how to walk again after a first operation, and later gained three stone in weight as she ‘ate her way to recovery’ during her struggle with her depression.
Tragically, her dad also lost his battle with cancer during her treatment.
But she has remained positive and said she wants to live her life to the full ‘however long it may be’.
Lauren, from Burnley, Lancs., said: “When I was first diagnosed in spring 2018, I was told I had six weeks to live.
“Being diagnosed with brain cancer feels like going to hell and back.
“It can be a very lonely place but, in many ways, I also feel like I have been given a second chance and that is why I am so determined to live my life, however long it may be, to the full.
“Throughout all of this, my children have kept me going and the thought of leaving them and my daughter having to explain to her younger brother what mummy used to be like is too much to bear.
“Having surgery for a brain tumour is like walking along a tightrope. On one side is life and, on the other, death.
“I felt as if I had no choice but to live and to be here for the kids. I know that people with my type of brain tumour have a poor prognosis but I am strong-willed and stubborn.
“I am determined not to be a statistic but to keep going with the best quality of life I can have for as long as I can.”
Lauren only discovered her ‘life-threatening’ cancer after she smashed into a tree and blacked out at the wheel while driving to work in January 2018.
An MRI scan in May that year revealed she had an aggressive Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), also called glioblastoma.
It is a fast-growing type of tumour of the brain or spinal cord.
She said: “What had started out as mild headaches had become severe and I was experiencing what I now know are focal seizures up to 15 times a day.
“I was back and forth to the doctor and for about 18 months I was told it was all down to depression and anxiety.
“I will never, ever forget the moment in July 2018 when I was told about the tumour.
“I was in a room at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, the same hospital where I have been training to be a mental health nurse.
“It was just completely overwhelming and very surreal. A horrendous situation made worse by the fact I didn’t have anyone accompanying me.”
In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Lauren is now embarking on a ‘Walk of Hope’ alongside charity Brain Tumour Research to inspire others who have been dealt a similar diagnosis and raise awareness.
She will be joined by her partner Daniel Burns, 33, and her children, Lucy, 11 and Ollie, four on Sep 26.
She said: “I want everyone going through a similar experience to know that they are not alone.
“I am still here and still fighting and there is so much more to me than my brain tumour. I am a mum, a partner, a sister and an auntie, not just a girl with cancer.”
“I am due to have another scan in September but, despite all the anxiety which surrounds that, I am doing something positive.”
Lauren was hoping to raise £300 but has smashed her target after amassing over £1,000 in just a few days. You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Lauren-Neville2