Mum-of-three dies aged 36 after dismissing killer disease as post-natal issues

Laura Stephenson, 36, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2018 – just 12 months after she’d given birth to twins. She had n’t been feeling well but put it down to her body de ella recovering from childbirth

Laura Stephenson was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2018 – just 12 months after she’d given birth to twins.

A mum-of-three tragically died after she dismissed cancer symptoms as postnatal issues following childbirth.

Laura Stephenson was just 36 when she was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2018 – just 12 months after she’d given birth to twins.

Laura, who had worked for nine years as a fundraiser for various cancer charities, hadn’t been feeling well but she put it down to her body recovering from the side effects of childbirth, Lancs Live reported.

However, she decided to book an appointment to visit the doctor and was referred to hospital for scans – but the results revealed devastating news she had terminal cancer.

Tragically, on December 28, 2019, just one year after her diagnosis, Laura passed away, leaving behind three daughters, all of whom she had wanted to see “grow up and get married.”

Laura and her beloved dad Mike



Laura’s father, Mike Barnes, said: “She hadn’t been feeling well but thought it was her body readjusting from childbirth.

“She ended up seeing a doctor who referred her to hospital for scans where she was told she had terminal bowel cancer.

“She called me as she was in the car on the way home to give the news to her mum.

“I was volunteering in Malawi at the time. She told me she wanted to see her girls grow up and get married, and when you’re that distance away all you can say is ‘you will’”.

Mike, from Preston, rushed home to be with his daughter and said Laura never let her diagnosis get in her way.

Mike said: “She just went and lived a full life, she refused to let it stop her do anything at all.

Mike says talking about how ‘lovely’ Laura was ‘brings her memory back’



“She had three daughters and insisted on picking them up from school every day.

“Cancer wasn’t going to stop her being a mum, it wasn’t going to interfere with her relationship with those around her, and it wasn’t going to stop her working and helping others.

“I know I’m biased, but she was such an amazing person. Everyone that met her fell in love with her.

“Stage 4 bowel cancer has a survival rate of eight per cent,, and I was hoping with everything I had that she’d be one of the eight per cent.”

Laura kept a blog documenting her cancer experience, which Mike decided to compile into a book entitled Nobody Said It Would Be Easy.

In an excerpt from her book, Laura writes: “We have the freedom to choose how we approach something. Being given that freedom is something that I wouldn’t swap for anything.

“I will choose faith over fear, hope over worry and belief over doubt every time.”

Mike said his daughter’s words feel like he is keeping her memory alive.

He added: “My whole family talk quite freely about Laura and we’re very open about everything.

“Talking about how lovely she was brings her memory back.

“Her eldest daughter, who’s now eight, did comment that she can’t remember her mummy’s voice.

“Having something tangible she can hold gives her and her sisters their mummy’s words, even if it is in a written form.”

After running a half marathon with Laura in 2012, Mike has decided to run the London Marathon in October to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK in his daughter’s memory.

He said: “Everyone says ‘I couldn’t do that’ when I tell them what I’m doing. I’m not even sure I can!”

Laura’s book is available to order on Amazon now starting at £4.99 with all proceeds going to Bowel Cancer UK.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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