A 25-year-old woman diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor two years ago has died on the day before her wedding, 9 News reports.
Not long after the diagnosis, in which she was told that she had a maximum of three years to live, Anna Swabey launched her blog Inside My Head where she wrote about her experiences and struggles with the disease. The tumor the blogger developed in her brain was so aggressive she was inclined to give it a name, Trev. After many difficult months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Swabey met her fiancé, Andrew Bell, on a dating app.
Bell, 26, knew of Anna’s brain tumor right from the start. Before long, Swabey and Bell moved in together.
Anna, a former York College and Mount School student, underwent biopsy in August and was told her tumor had progressed to Grade 4. Her condition deteriorated since then.
Anna Swabey passed away in the early hours of Friday morning at her home in County Durham with her family gathered around her.
Her family confirmed her death on the cancer blogger’s Facebook page.
“Anna passed away peacefully in the early hours of this morning,” the post read.
“I cannot put into words the heartbreak we all feel, but among our sadness, we are so proud of her courage, her spirit and the determination she showed throughout her illness.”
Miss Swabey, who had thousands of followers on her blog, was scheduled to wed her fiancé Andy Bell on Saturday.
The final post in Anna’s blog, published on September 10, was written by her sister Victoria, who wrote, “I’ll go back to 27th July when Anna had her last scan. This was six weeks after finishing 14 months of chemotherapy.”
“With her wedding to Andy coming up we were all hoping for another ‘stable’ scan result to mirror the one we received in January, however this was not to be,” she added. “Anna’s results showed a new growth away from her original tumour site.”
“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.”
Back in February 2015, Anna wrote her first blog post, in which she courageously explained how she planned to fight the tumor growing in her brain.
A First Class Honours degree student from the University of Portsmouth in 2013, the courageous blogger wrote that she was always “very ambitious.” And true to her statement, Anna spoke in countless interviews to raise awareness of the disease and the lack of funding in the hopes of improving outcomes for patients with a brain tumor. She also launched the Brain Tumour Research Campaign with the goal of raising £100,000 in the hopes of increasing funding for those afflicted with brain tumor.
“I was always very ambitious, I always wanted to be successful and I was determined I was going to have an amazing career,” Anna wrote in her blog.
“Throughout my life, I have been a perfectionist, never settled for being just average.”
“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! But, I am by no means naive, and I understand it’s going to be very tough and some compromises will no doubt have to be made.”
Wendy Fulcher, Brain Tumour Research Campaign founder, described Anna’s indomitable spirit and courage in fighting the disease and raising awareness for it among the community.
“Anna underwent surgery followed by the gruelling regimen of radiotherapy and chemotherapy which, inevitably, took its toll. She suffered from the excruciating tiredness, dreadful sickness and hair loss known all too well to other cancer patients and those who care for them. As her enviable long blond tresses fell out, she acquired a couple of wigs and admitted she would much rather live without hair for the rest of her life than give in to the tumour.
“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 marvellous 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.
“To Andy and her family, Anna was still ‘Anna’ and not ‘Anna with a brain tumour.’ This was important to her although she never shied away from reality, giving her time selflessly through interviews to help raise awareness of the disease and the appalling lack of funding to improve outcomes for patients. She proved herself to be a great fundraiser too, showing a gritty determination as she set herself the target of raising £100,000 for the Brain Tumour Research Campaign in order to help Kevin and his team at Imperial continue their pioneering work.
“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 … just one per cent of the national spend has been allocated to this devastating disease.”
Adrienne Richmond, principal of The Mount School, also paid tribute to Anna, who is one of the institution’s brightest and most-loved students, as reported by York Press.
“Anna made a real impact during her time at The Mount, and is remembered with respect and great fondness. She was an extremely bright girl; sparky, sporty, fun-loving and outgoing. She had a cheerful nature and was a very helpful and capable girl. She was much-loved and continues to live on in our memories.
“Anna approached her condition with great bravery. I am aware that in a short time she personally raised an incredible amount of money for brain tumour research. Through her blog, she has obviously inspired other sufferers and their families, using her condition to raise awareness in a way that indicated her own inner strength.
“Anna’s family is also fondly remembered at The Mount and, while we extend our sincere condolences for their loss, we remain thankful for her life and the light she brought to The Mount.”
[Featured Image by Inside My Head/Facebook]