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“Louise lived up to her name – a renowned warrior.” This is her story, told by her sisters, Laura and Clare.
“We still can’t believe that Louise was taken from us. She was only 38 years old, and left behind three incredible boys, Joe (13), Mateo (11) and Jude (2). They were the loves of her life.
We’ll start at the beginning, back in 2014, when Louise was pregnant with Jude. She was over the moon, and couldn’t wait for baby number three to arrive and complete her little family with her partner Matt. She loved motherhood, and took to it like a duck to water. However, during her pregnancy, she didn’t feel quite right. She experienced irregular bleeding and even lost weight, but it was put down to the pregnancy and hormones.
Jude was born in May 2015, yet Louise continued to feel unwell. After numerous doctors’ appointments, and finally a private scan, she was diagnosed with grade 2b cervical cancer. Her whole world turned upside down! How could this happen? She’d always attended her cervical screening appointments. She was immediately referred on the 2-week pathway. Jude was only 10 months old.
In March 2016 she began a gruelling regime of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which ended in the July, and for a while she started to feel herself again, enjoying the summer with her family.
But by the end of August, she found another lump on her collarbone. After more tests, scans and a biopsy in October 2016, she was told that her cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, and it was no longer curable. Her prognosis was 12 months.
In December that year, Louise was admitted to hospital with another bleed. And by February 2017, she was told there were no more treatment options available to her. The strength and courage Louise showed during this time was immeasurable.
Over time, her health began to deteriorate. She was now experiencing mobility issues and lost a lot of weight due to difficulties swallowing because of her tumours, and many other medical issues. Our mum was her main carer, supported by all the family and Louise’s partner, Matt. Friends and family showed Louise and her boys so much love and support throughout it all. If only love could have saved her!
Louise always had hope in her heart, and a fire in her belly. She began to explore local drug trials, but sadly didn’t qualify. So, she took her search abroad, where she was accepted for immunotherapy treatment. And so the fundraising began. She set up a blog to share her journey with others, and a fundraising page, called Louise’s Gift of Time, to help fund her treatment at a private clinic in Germany.
The generosity of friends, family, colleagues, and people she didn’t even know, blew us away. Initially we raised £90,000, but this only covered her first 7 days of treatment, and phase 2 of the treatment plan, three weeks later. But we carried on, raising thousands more, to give Louise the best chance of life, which it did for a while.
By March 2018, two years after this nightmare began, Louise’s health started to deteriorate dramatically, so she was admitted to LOROS. At first, she was reluctant about going into a hospice, but we all supported and encouraged her as we had heard so many great things about their care and support. LOROS was everything and more than we ever expected. The support they gave to us all, and the care Louise received, was incomparable.
They managed her pain, and made her as comfortable as she could be. It was such a calm and welcoming place to be.
There were so many little things that made that heart-breaking time that little bit easier to bear. We were allowed to stay by her side, day and night, so there was always somebody with her. The boys were able to visit too, and we weren’t made to feel uncomfortable or awkward about them being children, and sometimes making noise. Jude was only two years old at this point, and didn’t sit still for a minute!
The staff were so lovely, helping Louise to process what was happening, and support her with how to talk to the boys about death and what was happening to her. Her pain and discomfort were managed, and she got to enjoy reflexology and hand and arm massages to help her relax. One day a petting dog was brought into the Hospice, and the smile on Louise’s face as she was petting the dog was beautiful to see. She missed her own dog, Teddy, terribly!
Eventually, many of her final days were spent sleeping, but we were still able to spend those days with her. Around 12 days later, on the 31st March 2018, Louise took her last breath, aged just 38. She was surrounded by us all, and was now free from pain. We were able to stay with her for a while, which we needed to do, before saying goodbye.
This tribute is for Louise, as we approach another Christmas without her, and our wonderful Mum (Chris), who we went on to lose just two years later in 2020.
Louise lived for her boys and she will continue to live on through them. She will be forever in our hearts! Fly high beautiful girl and shine like the star you are.”