A blogger who wrote about living with a terminal brain tumour has died a day before her dream wedding.
Anna Swabey, 25, was initially given three months to live after being diagnosed with a grade three rare malignant tumour. It was shortly after her diagnosis she met her “wonderful” fiance Andy Bell, 26, on an online dating site. They moved in together and began planning a wedding and a family as Ms Swabey started gruelling courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Ms Swabey, from Newton Aycliffe, in County Durham and Mr Bell were due to marry today in the Yorkshire Dales. But after learning her tumour had progressed to grade four in July, her condition began to deteriorate two weeks ago and she died surrounded by her family in the early hours of Friday morning.
Her sister wrote her final blog post for her on 10 September.
Health news in pictures
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Victoria wrote: “Anna is peaceful in her bed, mostly sleeping. We have a few lucid moments with her every now and then and we are so thankful that she is comfortable and relatively pain-free. We can all take comfort in the fact that Anna is exactly where she wants to be, surrounded by her close family and friends.”
After learning of her diagnosis, Ms Swabey launched a blog, Inside my Head. Her first post, ‘Life with a Brain Tumour’, set out her reasons for blogging about fighting “Trev”, the name she gave to the growth on her brain.
“I was always very ambitious, I always wanted to be successful and I was determined I was going to have an amazing career,” she wrote. “Throughout my life, I have been a perfectionist, never settled for being just average.
“I’m still Anna Louise Swabey, I’m still 23 years old, and I still have exactly the same passions and ambition as detailed above. I am still exactly the same person, however, unfortunately, after receiving my biopsy results on 3 February 2015, I have been diagnosed with a Grade 3 Glioma, Anaplastic Astrocytoma brain tumour.”
Under the heading, ‘Who I want to be’, she continued: “I want to defy my prognosis, I WILL live till I am old, I WILL get married and I WILL have children and I WILL have the life I have always dreamt of!”
Ms Swabey became an advocate for more funds being allocated to brain tumour research, travelling to Westminster to debate with MPs.
She also wrote candidly about her experiences of dating after learning her tumour was terminal for magazines including Marie Claire. Her story attracted national attention and her blog posts were shared thousands of times.
Before her death, she raised almost £65,000 for the charity Brain Tumour Research. Ms Swabey had hoped to reach £100,000 and donations are still building.
On her Just Giving page, Ms Swabey set out what she hoped her legacy would be after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. “I am determined to leave a mark on the world, and I am desperate to make a difference.”
Wendy Fulcher, a spokesperson for Brain Tumour Research, said Ms Swabey “never shied from reality” and “gave her time selflessly” to raise awareness of brain tumours.
“Anna was just 23 when she was told she had a brain tumour. Understandably devastated and angry, she nevertheless held her head up high and decided she would live her life, however long it might be, to the full.
“Bright, vivacious, kind, and beautiful, Anna was one of those to whom others are naturally drawn. She had a great sense of fun and a marvelous joie de vivre. After graduating with a first class degree in languages and European studies, she had plans to learn Mandarin and there is no doubt she had the brightest of futures ahead.
“Another bright light has gone out. Another young person has been taken by a brain tumour, this most cruel and crippling of cancers which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other.”
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