Michelle was happily married, running a successful business and looking forward to the birth of her first child. She was struck down at the age of 29 with an undiagnosed high-grade brain tumour which, within hours of any symptoms, claimed her life and that of her baby.
“Michelle’s husband James took the tragic decision to turn off her life support machine so losing his wife, his first child, and all his hopes and dreams for their future. I take consolation from the fact that Michelle had a massive seizure and was unaware of what was happening to her or that she even had a brain tumour. It is unbelievably cruel that she should be snatched away from us in this shocking manner at the age of just 29 when she had so much to look forward to and was the happiest she had ever been. There are no words to describe our loss.”
Michelle’s mum Cheryl tells her story:
Michelle was very much in love and ran a successful IT company with her husband James. They had just moved into a gorgeous cottage and were looking forward to bringing their new puppy home. To top it all off, Michelle was 11 weeks pregnant and she was overjoyed to be able to share with me the scan and video of her unborn baby.
Michelle and I were in regular contact, mostly by text and emails, as my partner Adrian and I holidayed in France. It was the first time in 25 years I had managed to go abroad for a proper holiday as I had been nursing my elderly father who was suffering from dementia. Michelle was thrilled to hear that Adrian and I had got engaged and we chatted excitedly about the wedding which we were planning for March 2018, how she would be a bridesmaid and her baby would be there too.
It was such a special time for us all, particularly as four years earlier my husband Ron Darby, Michelle’s dad, had died just 11 days after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Michelle was our only child. We had always wanted another baby but, after five years of fertility treatment, I was told Michelle would never have a sibling and I was overjoyed that she was going to experience motherhood. I was going to be a grandmother and that meant so much. We chatted happily about what we would wear to the wedding but just 48 hours later she was dead
Out of the blue, Michelle suffered a massive bleed on the brain. She was rushed from her home in Helmshore, Lancashire, to hospitals in Blackburn and then Preston. I was informed by phone calls and text and we made preparations to get home but were unable to make it in time. Michelle had an undiagnosed high-grade brain tumour and, despite the efforts of an amazing neurosurgeon and his team, who battled to save her, it wasn’t to be. Her husband James, himself only 27, took the tragic decision to turn off her life support machine so losing his wife, his first child, and all his hopes and dreams for their future.
I take consolation from the fact that Michelle had a massive seizure and didn’t know she had a brain tumour. It is unbelievably cruel that she should be snatched away from us in this shocking manner at the age of just 29 when she had so much to look forward to and was the happiest she had ever been.
There are no words to describe our loss. It is deeply shocking to learn that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Adrian and I have changed the date of our wedding as the idea of keeping to our original date when we should have had Michelle with us as a bridesmaid and her child there too, was just too much to bear.
We are getting married in Torquay, not far from our home in Paignton, on 6th September and, rather than wedding gifts, have asked for donations to Brain Tumour Research in memory of Michelle. I am determined it will still be a day of celebration. Michelle loved a bit of glitz and glamour and loved getting dressed up for a special occasion. With this in mind, it is exactly what I will do and I will ask all of our guests to eat too much, drink too much and laugh too much and dance the night away which is just as Michelle would have wanted it.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
If you have been inspired by Michelle’s story and would like to make a donation to Brain Tumour Research please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adrianandcherylwedding2 or leave a gift in your will via https://www.braintumourresearch.org/legacy
Together we will find a cure.
The views or opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of Brain Tumour Research. This content has been shared for information purposes only. Brain Tumour Research does not recommend or endorse any particular treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor or other suitably qualified medical professional. Our member charity brainstrust can provide additional information on treatment options.