Non-smoking mother-of-three, 45, dies of lung cancer on Christmas Day – less than two years after the former nurse went to her GP with chest pains
- Mother-of-three Debbie Platts died at home in Leicestershire, at the age of 45
- The former nurse shared her story through a popular blog and Facebook page
- She left behind her husband Sam who has said she was ‘beautiful’ and ‘amazing’
A mother-of-three died of lung cancer on Christmas Day – less than two years after the former nurse went to her GP with chest pains.
Debbie Platts died at home in Sapcote, Leicestershire, at the age of 45 on Christmas morning, after her battle with the disease came to a tragic end.
Debbie started showing symptoms in February 2018, waking up one morning with excruciating back pain and a chest infection.
As her pain persisted, she decided to get checked out to see what was wrong, and a CT scan and biopsy revealed she had a mass on her left lung.
Mother-of-three Debbie Platts (pictured with her husband Sam) died at home in Sapcote, Leicestershire, at the age of 45 on Christmas morning, after a two-year battle with lung cancer
Doctors told them the devastating news that she had terminal cancer which could only be managed by treatment.
The selfless former nurse – who was a non-smoker – shared her story through a popular blog and Facebook page, as she wanted to comfort and support others living with the illness.
She left behind her husband Sam and her three daughters, Chanel, Taylor and Paris.
Sam said she remained positive right until the end despite becoming almost unable to walk.
‘It’s been a rough couple of years but the last few months have been really rough. Her illness took over quite a lot towards the end’, he said.
‘She was beautiful, she was amazing, she was the nicest, most caring woman I met. She was brilliant, always smiling, even at the end.’
Sam said she remained positive right until the end despite becoming almost unable to walk. She is pictured three days before she died
Debbie was determined to carry on with life as normal and created a Facebook page, Nurse with the big ‘C’urse, where she regularly posted photos and updates about her treatment and future plans.
She told LeicestershireLive last year : ‘I didn’t want sympathy or pity, I just wanted my story to be heard, because when you are given a diagnosis like this, you can have all your close family and friends with you but still feel so isolated, scared and alone.’
She spoke of the challenge of living with cancer, saying: ‘It’s one of the last things I think of at night and within minutes of being awake, it’s there at the forefront of my mind.
‘I try to distract myself thinking of all the wonderful things I am yet to experience and places I need to visit. It helps me to cope.
‘I need those goals to aim towards so that on the bad days, it’s my loved ones, goals and memories that get me through.’
Debbie in hospital, being visited by her baby niece. The family announced her death on Christmas Day with a post on the Facebook page
Debbie and Sam got married in summer 2018 at Sketchley Grange Hotel and they spent time in Ibiza and Rhodes, despite her illness.
The family announced her death on Christmas Day with a post on the Facebook page.
It urged people to ‘hold on to everyone you love a little tighter and a little longer tonight and never take the good times for granted because life can be so cruel and snatch those precious moments away.’
Sam said: ‘We still did Christmas dinner and everyone came round. In fact, more people came round than we expected.
‘We had about 25 to 35 people. It’s what she would have wanted.’
Her funeral at South Leicestershire crematorium was attended by some 300 people, with Chanel reading out a poem that was written especially for the occasion.
Sam, 37, said he is determined to keep raising awareness of lung cancer, as people misconceive that it’s a smoker’s illness, whereas Debbie never smoked.
He and around 30 family friends are taking part in a charity bike ride from Leicester to Skegness in aid of Loros Hospice, who provided care for Debbie in her final weeks.
They also plan to keep the blog and Facebook page going.
Asked what advice he would give to a family whose loved one had just been given a terminal cancer diagnosis, Sam said: ‘Everyone takes things differently, it’s such a hard thing to deal with.
‘You have to try and be as positive as possible. Look into all the options you have got.
‘Hope is a wonderful thing, keep it with you all the way.
‘If you let things get on top of you, things can deteriorate more quickly.
‘We had bad news and bad news, but Debbie always stayed positive.’
For the latest updates from the family, visit the Nurse with the big ‘C’urse Facebook page.
Visit the Loros Hospice website for more information about the charity bike ride.
Lung cancer: What are the symptoms?
Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. Around 47,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.
The symptoms include:
- a cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks
- a long-standing cough that gets worse
- chest infections that keep coming back
- coughing up blood
- an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, about 25 per cent of people with lung cancer experience back pain.
In fact, back pain is frequently the first lung cancer symptom that people notice prior to diagnosis.
A tumor in the lungs can put pressure on the spine, or can affect the nerves around the chest wall and spine.
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