Laura Nuttall was excited about starting university, just like any other 19-year-old would be.
But a few weeks into her first semester at Kings College in London, when she began suffering from headaches, she brushed it off as nothing serious.
“I thought it was something minor. I just started getting headaches for two weeks. I thought it was just a common cold, or a bout of headaches,” she told
A routine eye exam around this time found significant pressure behind her eyes and not long after that she got quite sick, vomiting repeatedly.
Laura was taken to hospital and doctors gave her the devastating news.
Doctors found at least six brain tumours and diagnosed her with , aggressive stage four brain cancer.
The most common length of survival for glioblastoma multiforme is just 12 to 15 months, with between three to five percent of people with the disease surviving more than five years.
“I wasn’t expecting this. I was at university, just moved in. I was quite excited about life and getting to live by myself,” explained the 19-year-old.
“Then I was told that I had brain tumours. That’s not something you’re really prepared to deal with at such a young age. Being told your life is going to get cut short, it’s been emotionally draining for me and my family as well,” Laura said.
Her mum Nicola admitted the heartbreaking diagnosis came as a huge shock to their family, who are still reeling from the news.
After getting the diagnosis Laura, who had only been at the university for six weeks, had to pack up and start doctors’ appointments where surgery was quickly suggested.
A page set up to support Laura revealed that the tumour was starting to cause seizures and she underwent brain surgery.
“So since surgery, Laura has had a gruelling six weeks of radiotherapy and oral chemo, she now gets a month off before starting a further six months of chemo (five days each month),” reads the charity page.
“As a family we couldn’t believe that our beautiful intelligent girl with so much life ahead of her, was basically facing a death sentence. It’s just heart breaking.”
The family have turned to “a huge range of supplements and repurposed drugs” and anything which could stall the disease of give Laura more time.
The aim of the charity page is to raise funds for other, more experimental options specifically immunotherapy treatments.
“DCVax is a groundbreaking new treatment which creates personalised immune therapy made from each patient’s own dendritic cells,” reads the page.
“The results of the initial trial is really positive and is extending the overall survival rate for people like Laura.”
The problem is the treatment hasn’t been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the family will need to pay for the treatment upfront.
The cost of this will be an initial £150,000 (AUD$266,000) and require maintenance treatments of £26,000 (AUD$46,000) per year.
Laura’s family believe they don’t have a lot of time and are trying to do anything in their power to help pay for the treatment and have already raised over £31,000 in just three days.