Laura ‘just shut her eyes and drifted away’

LAURA Baxter has lost her two-year battle with cancer.

The 27-year-old was getting closer to having a �25,000 life-saving operation in Belgium, thanks to the generous support of the people of Huntingdonshire, but her health took a turn for the worse last Wednesday and rapidly deteriorated.

The cancer – pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) – that Laura, of Black Hill Road, St Ives, had fought for so long had grown quickly over the last few weeks.

She died in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, at 10pm on Friday with her mum Jacky Baxter and partner, Wayne Cooper, by her side.

“She shut her little eyes and just drifted off,” Mrs Baxter said. “She didn’t have to suffer in any way. The nurses and doctors were there for her every step of the way.

“She was given six-to-eight months to live when the cancer returned after her last operation, but it was more like six weeks.

“She was so excited that she had got all the money for the operation. She had also a new home that Luminus was doing up for her – she got to choose the fridge, the cooker and the settee.

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“Laura said she was ready to go home and it was planned that she would come out on Monday [November 19] but she started to deteriorate on Wednesday. It happened so quickly, we were in shock.

“Throughout the last two years, she kept on saying she wouldn’t die, she was so stubborn about it. She had everybody behind her and she drew strength from that. It kept her battling for longer.

“She was very good-natured and would do anything for anyone, she just wanted to help. She was very mischievous and would play pranks on her friends. She wanted a Furby for her 28th birthday on December 14 because they were back in fashion. She was still a little girl who liked that kind of thing.”

Wayne said: “I only knew her for two years but because of everything I feel I’ve known her all my life.

“She was amazing and gorgeous as a person and that’s why I fell for her. We were planning for the future. We thought it all was over now we had the money, and were planning on getting married and adopt children.”

It was two years ago that Laura had her first operation – for a cyst that contained a cyst containing cancerous tissue. At the time, B, but doctors believed said the cancer had been contained but the disease came back and spread.

In June of this year, Laura had her sixth operation – a 12-hour procedure to remove cancerous tissue in her abdomen – at PMP specialist hospital in Basingstoke.

Surgeons left three per cent of the cancer on her liver, aiming to treat it and hoped to get rid of it with a heated chemotherapy bath, where drugs are warmed to 40 degrees and left in the abdomen for hours.

However, iIn August, doctors atin Addenbrooke’s Hospital discovered the cancer had returned and Laura was given six-to eight months to live. Both of the UK-based with PMP specialist hospitals –– , The Christie, in Manchester, and in Basingstoke – –said , saying the cancer was too advanced for their surgeons and a they didn’t have the specialist surgeon was required.

, which both Jacky and Wayne want to bring to the UK.

Refusing to give in, Laura found doctors around the world that would be able to help her, and eventually found Dr Wim Ceelen, of Ghent University Hospital, who was willing to carry out the life-saving operation for �25,000.

Mrs Baxter said: “Laura did her research and found doctors in America who wanted to charge �45,000 plus money for care and everything.

“Then she found others in Norway, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland but then found the doctor in Belgium willing to do it –- then it was just a case of getting the money.”

She added: “With all these other countries having specialists, we need them in Britain.”

Eurostar had offered free travel to Ghent for Laura and Wayne, and she was just waiting to recover from an infection which she was being treated for in Addenbrooke’s since October 28, to arrange a surgery date with Dr Ceelen.

Laura was sent hundreds of notes, from Post-it notes to letters, wishing her to get better, which Jacky is going to make into a book.

Sue Bailey, a close friend, said: “When I first met Laura two and a half years ago I knew I had met someone very special. Her charisma and natural grace shone through and I knew I had to know her more.

“Laura had the ability to make a person feel good and always approached life in her own unique and enchanting way. We all fought alongside her to find ways to help her beat her cancer and I am devastated that she lost her fight.

“I will miss her so much.”

The money raised will now be split between the charity, The PMP Survivors Ccharity, to fund research into the rare cancer, and the C9/D9 wards at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, which Wayne wants to use to buy pay for new medical equipment to replace the old machines the nurses currently use.

Laura also leaves behind her sister Nicky Haye and her husband Jamie, brother Lee, step-father Brian Barnes and two nieces, Cara and Erin Hutchinson.

INFORMATION: Laura’s funeral takes place at 1.30pm on Friday, December 7, at Cambridge Crematorium West Chapel.