"There's a myth that anyone who has a liver problem has brought it on themselves" This quote is from a Crohn's disease patient living with a blocked portal vein hoping for a liver transplant (Independent 31st Oct 2010)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Story of a legacy

Browsing iPlayer yesterday I came across a short programme about a young girl, Nicole Dryburgh. Nicole was diagnosed age 11 with a tumour on her spine. Her story is here
She died in 2010 at 21.
I'm not sure why her story was on iPlayer at the end of 2011, but she raised a lot of money for the Teenage Cancer Trust and won many achievement awards.
Not only was she beautiful, but she came across on camera as a very positive and compassionate person, in spite of her circumstances.
Her mother was interviewed talking about her, and it struck me that the mother positively glowed with the memories of her daughter.
It seemed that part of Nicole's legacy was not only to leave behind tangible evidence of herself - she raised over £74,000 for a Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey and £43,000 to fund ‘Nicole’s Sweet’, a paediatric neuro-rehabilitation suite on Lion Ward at King’s College Hospital - but she left behind extraordinary and happy memories for those who loved her.

I follow a number of cancer blogs, and pop in and out of cancer forums. Many cancer patients use war analogies in their stories. They 'battle' against cancer. They declare confidently they will 'win' over the tumours. They 'fight' for each day, frightened it might be their last. Nicole herself didnt use these words, though after her death her family did. Yes she had been angry in the early stages (she had periods of remission). Instead she described her illness and treatment in a straightforward matter of fact voice. She had wit, she had humour, she had a positive attitude, she was determined.

Fellow blogger Carole http://caroleandcancer.blogspot.com is in a bit of a bleak place at the moment. Diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer in April 2010 mets in Carole's spine were then diagnosed in October 2011.
Carole, like Nicole, is fundraising. Carole, like Nicole, has a special way with words. Carole, like Nicole, envelops those around her with warmth and love.
So here's to Carole and the knowledge that through your blog, your input to the cancer forums, your fundraising, there will be always be a right Pain in the Bum legacy nobody will forget!


  1. Oh Fiona, I'm so so tearful reading this but not 'sad feeling sorry for myself' tears.

    I could never live up to someone like Nicole, for she was so special and people like her only come along once in a while - but I feel so honoured that you mentioned me in this way.

    I'm glad that people will always remember me as a right (royal) pain in the bum :)) and I just hope that along the way I have managed to help others because once you know where you're going, it's no longer about *you* but more about who else can be helped out of a dark, sometimes scary place.

    I'll be updating my own blog later - my news isn't good but this post was...and although I've cried, it's definitely not sad tears

    Thank you Fiona - sincerely.
    Much luv always xxXxx

  2. Thank you, Fiona, for this awesome post. Nicole is truly amazing, but then so is our Carole. I think it a fair comparison.

    Carole, you more than helped me through my dark and scary places. You have a gift that makes each one of us in the cancer community feel as though we are uniquely special.

    I think you are both wonderful women. I am lucky to have two more sisters across the pond looking after me. It feels good.

    Love and hugs (to be applied as needed) xx((0))xx