The heartbroken daughter of a mum who tragically died from complications of depression after throat cancer is to take part in a charity skydive in her honour.
Laura Knott, from Bromley, London, has been raising funds for the Throat Cancer Foundation after three family members, including mum Kate Doyle, were diagnosed with different forms of cancer.
Financial worker Laura, 26, suffered a triple heartache when her mum was diagnosed with the disease shortly after her aunt discovered she had breast cancer in 2014.
Then, in a further devastating twist her grandfather was also diagnosed with bone cancer and then throat cancer in February this year – just days after her mum tragically passed away aged just 52.
Laura said: “My mum was diagnosed with throat cancer about four years ago straight after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, so it was a bit of a double whammy.
“My granddad also had bone cancer and then was diagnosed with throat cancer when my mum died in February this year.
“With the cancer, mum couldn’t eat or drink anything, so she isolated herself and had already suffered from lifelong depression.
“She had a peg in her stomach and about a year and a half ago she started going downhill, having seizures and was in and out of hospital quite a lot.
“The doctors told her she had to start putting milkshakes and water in her pegs and look after herself.
“But mum stopped the exercises that would give her the ability to swallow back because it was too much for her.”
Following her gruelling battle with depression after throat cancer treatment, Laura’s mum Kate ended up in hospital in February this year as a result of malnutrition and dehydration issues, when medics discovered she had a blot clot on her bowel.
Tragically she lost her battle in February 12 and died in hospital as a result of the complications.
“She was really depressed and really just gave up,” Laura says. “It was kind of like suicide by proxy.”
Distraught Laura has bravely spoken out about her mother’s battle with depression after a throat cancer diagnosis to raise awareness of just how devastating the side effects can be following treatment.
Kate had gone through horrific radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, much to the surprise of her three children, who knew their mother had battled clinical depression from the age of 17.
“We always knew mum had wanted a way out so we were all very surprised that she had even gone through with the treatment,” Laura admits.
“It was the effects of the radiotherapy that killed her in the end, not really the cancer.
“We knew she was in a lot of pain mentally and physically.
“She got so much worse because she self-diagnosed herself with agoraphobia and said she couldn’t go out.
“For two or three years after her diagnosis she just sat on the sofa and watched TV, day in and day out.
“Once she lost the ability to swallow and that the peg went in, that’s when she started going downhill.
“She didn’t want to see family, she didn’t want to celebrate birthdays or Christmas. She fell into such a deep depression.”
Laura got in touch with the Throat Cancer Foundation, a national charity who aim to raise awareness of cancers that affect the head, chest, mouth and neck, just before her mum died and recommended she get involved with the charity’s online forum in a bid to get her to open up about her battle.
Her 79-year-old grandfather, who also suffers from depression, has just been given the all clear from throat cancer after successful treatment and his voice is starting to return.
“I told her to look into the Throat Cancer Foundation to show her that she wasn’t going through it alone,” Laura said.
“We have a dress down Friday at work where we have a collection pot to raise money for a charity so I started doing it for the Throat Cancer Foundation.
“I’m now saving to take part in a charity skydive because I think people need to know just how difficult it can be, not just physically, for people after going through treatment.
“There’s hundreds of types of cancers that people just don’t think about – a lot of the times we just think of the main ones like breast cancer.
“I hadn’t realised until after mum had cancer just how bad the side effects can be even after the treatment.
“This shows just how the side effects can last for the rest of your life and can still kill in the end.”
To donate to her cause visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Laura-Knott2