Pink digger driving experience and ticket for Euro 2020 final ticked off 'bucket list' for inspirational Pendle student battling brain cancer
A courageous Pendle student, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given 12 months to live in 2018, was among the thousands of England fans at Wembley stadium on Sunday night.
Laura Nuttall went to the final of the Euro 2020 with her uncle Neil. And although England lost against Italy it was still the opportunity of a lifetime for Laura who loved cheering on the team.
Two tickets were donated to the family after a well wisher offered them on social media to someone who deserved a special treat.
Laura's mum Nicola said: "The person offering the tickets received around 400 emails, including mine to tell him about Laura, so for her to be chosen was just fantastic.
"Her uncle drove her down and back and they didn't get home until 5am on Monday morning."
Within hours of arriving back home Laura was preparing for another momentous journey, this time to Cologne in Germany for another round of treatment. And she travelled by road again with her dad, Mark, as there were no flights available until August.
Thanks to a massive fund raising campaign Laura has been able to go to Germany for the revolutionary treatment after CT and MRI scans revealed she had six tumours in 2018.
The scans were carried out after she went to her doctor complaining of sickness and headaches and an eye examination detected swelling in her optic nerve.
Laura bravely endured a craniotomy to remove the largest tumour and then started a gruelling programme of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Then her family found the innovative new immunotherapy treatment available only in Germany and with the help friends, community and people who donated through GoFundMe, they have been able to take Laura out to Cologne on a regular basis and her immune system responded to the treatment.
Although Laura, who is now 21, is still really healthy and free of symptoms, a routine MRI scan revealed regrowth on the site of the original tumour.
She had a second surgery at the end of March and the latest round of treatment she is undergoing at the moment is two further dendritic cell vaccinations and a course of a checkpoint inhibitor called Pembrolizumab.
As none of this is available on the NHS of course the family are faced with the enormous challenge of raising a further £80k through the Doing it for Laura campaign.Nicola said: "The support we have received has been absolutely incredible and we can't thank people enough for the donations and help that has helped us to get this treatment for Laura.
"It means everything to us."
After Laura was diagnosed she created a 'bucket list' of activities she wanted to complete and so far she has piloted HMS Charger, driven a supercar around Silverstone and visited Churchill’s War Room. She went to LGV driving school Ben Shaw Training, in Blacker Street, Burnley, with her parents to drive a DAF truck and a bus around the practice yard.
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.
And more recently Laura, of Barrowford, ticked another item off her bucket list when she got to drive a pink digger!
The experience as provided by Cumbria based company Waitings whose own director, Victoria Waiting, who was from Blacko, died in 2016 aged just 44, after being diagnosed with the same tumour that Laura is fighting now.
Part of Victoria's legacy was to have the digger sprayed pink to raise money for cancer charities.
Along with giving Laura the opportunity to drive the pink digger the company is teaming up with the Doing it for Laura campaign to help boost the amount raised as a portion of all profits generated by the pink digger will also be donated to the fund.
Creative Director Sophie Waiting said: "We are incredibly proud to be teaming up with the Doing it for Laura campaign in recognition of the family’s pioneering research brilliance and Laura’s amazing journey living with a GBM4 brain tumour.
"Our aim is to provide funding to enable the family to continue to trial new treatments and to continue to amaze and inspire with their research and knowledge sharing.
"The Waiting’s team lost their director to GBM4 in 2016 and are incredibly humbled to be supporting a family who, through, such adversity are doing so much to positively change the odds of others.
"The ground breaking methods she has been using have seen her live for one and a half years beyond her initial prognosis of just 12 months.
"We want to make sure this continues."
A video of Laura's experience driving the digger has gone viral and been shared over 11,000 times on Twitter and 8,000 times on Facebook.
Laura has just completed the second year of her degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Manchester University and she has been invited to model for a fashion show at Manchester Airport later this year.
The show is being staged by Maggie's Centres which are a network of drop-in centres across the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, which aim to help anyone who has been affected by cancer.
Laura is also looking forward to the remarkable experience of afternoon tea at Styal Prison! This will be served at the Clink restaurant by prisoners in training who are working towards gaining their City Guilds NVQs in food and beverage service, professional cookery and food hygiene.
Situated in a converted chapel, the air-conditioned restaurant allows prisoners to learn, engage with the public and take their first steps towards a new life.
More information on Waitings 'digging it for Laura' go fund me page please click HERE