Laura Stephenson, 36, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2018, just 12 months after giving birth to twins. She didn’t feel well, but attributed it to her body recovering from childbirth.
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A mother of three has tragically died after dismissing cancer symptoms as postnatal issues after giving birth.
Laura Stephenson was just 36 when she was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2018 – just 12 months after giving birth to twins.
Laura, who had worked for nine years as a fundraiser for various cancer charities, felt unwell but attributed it to her body recovering from the side effects of childbirth, LancsLive reported. .
However, she decided to make a doctor’s appointment and was referred to hospital for tests – but the results revealed devastating news that she had terminal cancer.
Tragically, on December 28, 2019, just a year after her diagnosis, Laura passed away, leaving behind three daughters, all of whom she had wanted to “grow up and marry”.
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Laura’s father, Mike Barnes, said: ‘She wasn’t feeling well but thought it was her body rehabilitating since giving birth.
“She ended up seeing a doctor who sent her back to hospital for tests where she was told she had terminal bowel cancer.
“She called me while she was in the car on her way home to tell her mother the news.
“I was volunteering in Malawi at the time. She told me she wanted to see her daughters grow up and get married, and when you’re this far away all you can say is ‘you. will do “”.
Mike, from Preston, rushed home to be with his daughter and said Laura never let her diagnosis get in the way.
Mike said: ‘She just went and lived a full life, she refused to let that stop her from doing anything.
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“She had three daughters and insisted they pick them up from school every day.
“Cancer wasn’t going to stop her from being a mom, it wasn’t going to interfere with her relationship with those around her, and it wasn’t going to stop her from working and helping others.
“I know I’m biased, but she was such an amazing person. Everyone who met her fell in love with her.
“Stage 4 bowel cancer has an eight percent survival rate, and I was hoping with everything I had that she would be in the eight percent.”
Laura kept a blog documenting her cancer experience, which Mike decided to compile into a book called Nobody Said It Would Be Easy.
In an excerpt from her book, Laura writes: “We have the freedom to choose how we approach something. Being given this freedom is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.
“I will always choose faith over fear, hope over worry and belief over doubt.”
Mike said his daughter’s words feel like he’s keeping her memory alive.
He added: “My whole family speaks quite freely about Laura and we are very open about everything.
“Talking about how adorable she was brings back her memory.
“Her eldest daughter, who is now eight, said she couldn’t remember her mum’s voice.
“Having something tangible that she can hold gives her and her sisters their mom’s words, even if it’s in written form.”
After running a half marathon with Laura in 2012, Mike decided to run the London Marathon in October to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK in memory of his daughter.
He said: “Everyone says ‘I couldn’t do that’ when I tell them what I’m doing. I’m not even sure I can!”
Laura’s book is available to order on Amazon from £4.99, with all proceeds going to Bowel Cancer UK.