A tragic young mum has lost her battle with cancer less than six months after being diagnosed.
By the time doctors told Nicola Thomson (25) that she had pancreatic cancer on January 18, the disease was already in its advanced stages and she was given just months to live.
Former Graeme High pupil Nicola died on June 2, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter Ciara, as well as her devastated parents, Ian and Wendy and brother Chris (23).
Normally known as an older person’s disease, the cancer quickly took its toll on Nicola - she was vomiting up to 10 times a day and her weight dropped to just six stones. She underwent a gastric bypass operation in a bid to ease the symptoms, and she was so ill, she was only able to receive two rounds of chemotherapy. A huge Falkirk fan, Nicola was even too ill to watch the semi-final earlier this year.
Around 400 people packed into Falkirk Crematorium on Monday to pay their respects to Nicola, and the collection raised over £1600 for Pancreatic Cancer UK and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Brother Chris paid tribute to his brave, caring and loyal big sister and spoke of the family’s shock after her diagnosis.
Speaking from the family home in Old Polmont Chris Thomson said: “Initially we thought it was gallstones or her gallbladder. There was no indication that it was going to be anything so serious. When she was diagnosed, it was just a death sentence for her. From the beginning of February she wasn’t able to go out.
“She’s always been really stubborn though and I’m sure that’s why she got through it all.”
Amazingly her young daughter Ciara has taken her mum’s illness in her stride. Chris added: “Ciara has been quite unfazed by it all. She knew what was wrong with her mum, and they managed to keep their bond, even though Nicola was so unwell. Ciara is like her mum in a lot of ways, and she does remind us of Nicola.”
Before her illness Nicola worked at WebhelpTSC in Larbert. She performed with the Rachel McFadden school of dance, as well as with Larbert Operatic Society and was a cheerleader with Falkirk Fusion.
However, her big passion was for football, and her memory for football matches was “unbelievable”.
Before she fell ill, Nicola had even organised concerts in aid of Cancer Research, and last month, mum Wendy raised £1100 for the hospice by taking part in the Midnight Tiara Walk.
Accessing medical care for Nicola was often a frustrating experience for the family but they have only praise for the palliative care which she received from Marie Curie Cancer Care, Strathcarron Hospice, and the district nurses from Graeme Medical Centre.
Dad Ian said: “We have had so much family support, including from Nicola’s grandparents June and Wallace and Chris’ partner Laura. It has affected so many people. Wendy and I have both been off work since January, and everyone has been so understanding.”