Below she tells her story in her own words.
I was 10 years old when I first started to experience symptoms. The pain was localised on my right shin. It kept coming and going randomly and was as painful as a wasp sting.
It was in 2005 when I was 13 years of age that I was given a diagnosis: it was cancer. But not any cancer, it was a type of bone cancer, and it was extremely rare.
At that age I did not really understand how serious the situation was because I didn't even know what cancer really was. However, I could see how scared my mum was, and I will always remember the look on her face.
The specialist who told my mum and me the diagnosis used these words:
The bad news is that it is a rare cancer, the good news is that we can treat it.
That reassured me. They just told me I was ill, but they had a solution. So no worries, eh?
I had surgery where they removed the biggest part of my shin and replaced it with my left fibula. After months of pain, waiting, re-education, I could finally take my life back two years later. The same specialist reassured us that adamantinoma, being rare, would never come back.
During the next 14 years I had time to grieve this long and hard period of my life. I decided to leave France and study in England for a few years. I had lots of projects, and I was living my life to the fullest. In 2019, after running a half marathon in Leeds, I was given news that changed everything at a small hospital in England.
I literally lost control of my body when an oncologist had the terrible task of telling me that: "the patches that we see on your lungs are cancer metastasis."
My future, my hopes, my dreams were gone as quick as the snap of Thanos' fingers in Avengers. The little 'discomfort' that I could feel in my back for a few months was actually something that was slowly killing me.
The oncologist made it clear that I needed a biopsy to know what type of cancer I had, then we could make a decision according to the results. Despite the doctor's calm voice, the reality was so violent that it hit me with an invisible pain.
There are too many metastases for you to have radiotherapy, it will make you sicker than you already are. For chemotherapy, it will depend on if the cancer is linked to the one you had when you were younger. If that is the case, there is no cure, and chemotherapy would be necessary to try and contain the cancer.
And that's when all my hopes were gone. During the following days, I felt alive but empty at the same time. It was the beginning of December and I decided to leave England to return to France - for a second opinion, but mostly to be closer to my family.
The biopsy revealed that it was indeed the cancer I had when I was younger. This meant there was no cure.
Ironically, the beginning of my treatment coincided with the beginning of the first lockdown in France. I took that as a sign that the universe was slowing down its course so I could follow the rhythm.
I am writing this in January 2023. After a few months of targeted cancer therapy and chemotherapy that I used to take in pill form (that stablised the disease for a while), a clinical trial (inconclusive) and 'classical chemotherapy' (inconclusive and virulent) I am in a situation that is getting more and more complicated and critical.
For the past few months, I have spent my days on the sofa, around a kingdom of pillows and cushions because the slightest effort is extremely hard. I am out of breath easily and in pain. I have lost a lot of weight, my muscles have disappeared, and the long nights of good sleep are a distant memory.
According to my specialists, there is further chemotherapy to try, but the effectiveness of this treatment is not known. I am now in a race against time... if there is not an effective treatment, I might not be here to see 2024.
I went from being shocked to accepting it.
The situation has changed me drastically since November 2019. I have worked on myself, I had to find a way to come to terms with things. I learnt the hard way that life is surprising... I have lived through some extremely painful situations, but also some beautiful ones. It's like there's no place for fake appearances and everything is shared with violent truth.
I have created incredible bonds with my friends and family, even with people that I was not close to before, and with complete strangers. I opened my mind to things I felt curious about in the past, but I never dared to try, things like non-traditional medicine. I mostly learnt to listen to myself.
All of this forced me to consider the following question: If I were to die soon, what would I do with the time I have left?
Laura very sadly died on Tuesday 24th January 2023. Her boyfriend, Loic, continues her story.
Laura was living with adamantinoma for three years and stayed incredible until the very end. Before she passed, Laura was working on the above text, which I found on her computer.
I would like to finish the project that Laura started, to raise funds for cancer research. It is my hope that, in the near future, people will be able to be treated and cured from this cancer.
Unfortunately, adamantinoma is extremely rare, and so is the research. Nevertheless, Laura persevered and got in touch with the Bone Cancer Research Trust. Fundraising for research was extremely important for Laura, not to save herself, but to save others.
She often said to me: "It is a cancer that mostly attacks children" and she found that incredibly unfair. She also wanted to help others and said: "If my story can contribute to something, even if I'm no longer here, I need to do it."
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