Nicola's father David shares her story
Nicola had a primary tumour just above her left knee and numerous secondary tumour in both lungs. Her treatment consisted of long and intensive doses of chemo followed by an amputation on 6th October.
This was followed by two lung surgeries in December and January, then a final dose of chemo. Throughout her hard and difficult treatment, Nicola showed determination and courage beyond her years and affected the lives of so many people.
Nicola's cancer returned in October and she had surgery to remove a small tumour from her left lung which was successful. Unfortunately the cancer returned full scale in January with several tumours in her lungs and one wrapped her wind pipe, this time surgery was not an option due to the location of the tumour. Nicola's situation was untenable. As there is no second line of treatment for osteosarcoma, Nicola was put on an experimental chemo with virtually no chance of curing her. The chemo did little but hold the tumours. When she developed serious side-effects the chemo was stopped and the cancer once again took off and the tumours once again began to grow.
At this stage nothing could be done and Nicola's fate was sealed. Nicola being Nicola has no intention of giving up and started a third course of chemo, but died mid-treatment on October 6th 2007, fighting until the very end, literally fighting until the very end. In life an inspiration, in death an inspiration.
If Nicola was alive now, she would say to people who have bone cancer:
'Be yourself, that's one thing the cancer can't take. Remember you can do anything you want to do, set your goals and head for them. Smile, it makes you feel better. Don't give up, don't you dare give up. Let's discover a second line of treatment. Let's find a cure".
What would we say as parents? If your child develops bone pain that persists and does not respond to standard pain killers, go straight away to the doctors. If after visiting the doctors, the pain persists or other symptoms develop, go straight back and ask for an x-ray - no, insist on an x-ray.