Christina, Samantha's mother, shares her story
In 2007 Samantha had been having problems with her left knee and this went on for some time. Her knee became very swollen and six months down the line she was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma.
She was truly amazing! Coping with whatever challenges the next few years threw at her. She lost her long brown hair, faced all the treatment with interest and positivity, hung on to her wicked sense of humour and kept family and friends going. She refused to give in.
In 2008, after treatment failed to shrink the tumour, she chose to have her leg amputated to stop the spread of the disease. Once the leg was amputated and examined, it was discovered that there were not one, but two types of bone cancer: osteosarcoma and chondrosarcoma. Fate was not on Sam's side.
It was already too late; the cancer had spread to her lungs. Still Samantha remained undaunted!
Fresh back from the above knee amputation and as soon as they would let her, she had another operation to remove the tumours from her lung, followed by more chemo for the newly discovered 'other cancer'.
Discharged from hospital and treatment free for the time being, Sam found a flat for her and fiancé, Neil. They moved in and set up home together. She loved making a home and then sorted out all her own wedding arrangements as well as going out and finding a new job. Her hair grew and she cut it herself and styled it for her wedding day; Saturday 19 September 2009. The sun shone. It really was a perfect day!
Back from a honeymoon in Cornwall; another scan, more bad news. The cancer had spread to the other lung. Another operation at Sam's request, the Hickman line put back in and off came the hair once again. More treatment followed the operation and still she remained ever positive - refusing to give up, making the most of every second, she loved being Neil's wife.
Eventually she was told the treatment was not working, so she rang me to say she had decided enough was enough. She was happy to stop any further treatment and enjoy the time she had left (she thought she had years).
Six months after stopping all treatment she was cooking, gardening, sewing and enjoying her life but perhaps looking back, she did not let on if she felt under par. Sam and Neil had got a rescue dog, a 'Staffy' called Ruby. Sam just couldn't have been happier.
She started to experience some breathing problems but we all thought she was allergic to the dog - ignorance is bliss?
On 8 September 2010, I collected Samantha to take her for a 3pm appointment to have her new leg fitted at the mobility centre in Exeter. She had been 'legless' without 'Hermon' (this is what she called her leg) for about a month and was so happy and excited to be going in to get her leg back. It meant so much that she could get out and about and be independent once more. In her own words in a text to me that morning "I am like a kid in a sweet shop".
Whilst walking up and down trying out her new leg, she became unwell and had problems breathing. The staff gave her oxygen to help breath. Even then, Samantha said she didn't need it and that she would be better in a minute. Eventually they called for an ambulance which came and took her across to the main hospital; just to be on the safe side. The next 8 hours were to become my worst nightmare. At 7pm she finally let me call Neil who joined me at the hospital. Not the evening Sam had been expecting - she had been looking forward to watching the new episode of Midsummer Murders.
Instead at 11.40pm that night, Samantha died of a pulmonary embolism. 11 days before her first wedding anniversary.
Samantha so wanted to raise awareness because this silent killer is so often misdiagnosed. I am SO proud of my daughter and so grateful I shared the best 25 years a mum could ever ask for.
Samantha loved Queen's song, Don't Stop Me Now!! Whenever I hear it - I think of her and smile. Says it all!
I love Samantha with all my heart and miss her more every day. My beautiful daughter. My inspiration.