Pendle teenager diagnosed with terminal brain cancer ticks off another item on her bucket list
Laura Nuttall (19) had only been at university for six weeks when an eye test revealed the incurable tumours.
The teenager had been to the doctor complaining of headaches and sickness, but the eye examination she had when applying for the Royal Navy Reserve detected swelling in her optic nerve.
She was referred to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London for further tests but the next day became ill and went to A&E.
Laura had CT and MRI scans which revealed the six tumours.
She underwent surgery at Salford Royal and was told she had aggressive stage 4 brain cancer.
Laura has since created a bucket list of activities, which included driving a LGV.
She went to LGV driving school Ben Shaw Training, in Blacker Street, Burnley, with her parents, Nicola and Mark, to drive a DAF truck and a bus around the practice yard.
Laura, who was studying international relations at King’s College, London, but who has sicne accepted a place to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Manchester, spent a two hours in the cab with owner Ben Shaw.
She said: “It was great and really good fun. I really enjoyed it.
“The bus was more fun because I could drive it faster.
“I enjoyed perfecting the manoeuvres in the truck which was more difficult to drive than I imagined because the back end wouldn’t always do what I wanted it to do unlike in a car.”
Laura added: “I’m trying to get on with my life and make it as normal possible but it’s quite difficult when you have got something inside you trying to kill you.
“As soon as we found out, I thought I needed a bucket list.
“It’s crazy thinking about these things, what you want to do before you die.
“When you are 19, you don’t think of that kind of stuff.”
Laura, from Barrowford, is currently on six months of chemotherapy and her family is trying to raise £150,000 for experimental treatment which could extend her life.
A range of fundraisers and donations have so far raised more than £108,000.
Since receiving the devastating news in October, Laura has piloted HMS Charger, driven a supercar around Silverstone and visited Churchill’s War Room.
Other items on her bucket list include viewing The Scream painted by artist Edvard Munch, crossing the equator and visiting the Heinz Factory in Wigan.
Mum Nicola (49) said she has been overwhelmed by the support.
She said: “I would never have imagined the response we’ve had.
“It is really hard to believe that we have managed to raise so much money.
“It’s restored our faith in humanity as people are incredibly kind.”
Nicola added: “Laura is a tough cookie and has never once got upset.
“When everything in her life was about the future, to have it derailed so spectacularly is the last thing any of us expected and it was really hard on her.
“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."
Nicola, who owns Giddy Kippers, said ground-breaking DCVax immune therapy treatment offers hope to her daughter.
Nicola said: “Unfortunately for us, the DCVax treatment has yet to be approved by NICE so we would need to fund the whole treatment for Laura ourselves.
“The cost of this will be an initial £150,000 and a maintenance cost of about £26,000 per year which is a huge amount of money for any family to try to find.”
Owner Ben Shaw (42) said: “Laura was a natural and the perfect student. She got the hang of it in no time at all.
“It was clear she was enjoying herself by the huge smile on her face.
“We are just glad we could help.”
To donate to Laura’s page, click here