A Lancashire mum who died from a brain tumour survived long enough to see her ‘miracle’ baby celebrate his first birthday - and her brother is preparing to raise the tot as his own son.
Nicola Abbott, 29, died on Saturday, exactly a year after she was told the cancer would be terminal but lived just long enough to see her little boy celebrate his first birthday.
Baby Archer was born on August 31 2017, and single mum Nicola described him as “a miracle” - after doctors had told her the chemotherapy used to treat aggressive stage four cancer glioblastoma multiforme, would make her infertile.
When Nicola, from Mowbray Road, Fleetwood, discovered she was pregnant she was determined to continue with it, despite the risks.
And knowing that she would not be alive long enough to see him through childhood, elder brother Graeme, 30, and his wife Christina, 29, offered to raise Archer as their own son, along with their two little boys.
After Nicola’s funeral, Archer will return home with them under an arrangement known as ‘special guardianship’.
And in three years will be formally adopted.
Graeme said: “Nicola’s main goal was to make it to Archer’s first birthday.
“In April she was told that she had six weeks to live, but she was determined.
“It is exactly a year that we were told the cancer was terminal.
“If Nicola set herself a goal, she wouldn’t stop.
“She always told us that was her goal.
“She had a birthday party for Archer in July as she didn’t think she would make it until the end of August.”
Despite her ill-health, the upbeat mum went camping in the Lake District with her family to celebrate Archer’s first birthday, three weeks ago.
They had a picnic with cake, balloons and banners at Lake Windermere.
In the last few weeks of her life, Nicola was overjoyed to see her baby learning to crawl, and trying to toddle around holding onto furniture for support.
Nicola’s dad Richard Ryan, 48, moved into her house in Fleetwood, Lancs, to help care for her and Archer, and her mum Sheryl Abbott lived next door.
Graeme travelled down from Springburn, Glasgow, on a weekly basis to take Nicola to appointments and to support her.
And his sons Elijah, two, and Aaron, aged one, were always happy to see their cousin.
He added: “We’ve told our sons that Archer’s coming to live with us - Elijah is really close with Archer, he’s always asking for him.
“We are planning to go back to Glasgow after the funeral, and hoping we can get the funeral this week.”
He described the last week of Nicola’s life as “the happiest I’ve seen her in a long time,” before she passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Graeme said: “I’m sort of at peace because I know Nicola is at peace now.
“She was always happy, but in the past couple of weeks, she was the happiest she’d been for a while.
“I think subconsciously she knew it was going to happen.
“She bought gifts for all the family, and the night before she died she told our dad ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’.”
Nicola also had two other children from a previous relationship, a daughter aged seven and a son aged ten, who live with her ex-partner.
Speaking a year before her death, Nicola said: “It’s a huge relief for me, knowing he will be with my family, having seen how my brother has brought up his sons.
"When I first found out I was pregnant I got a lot of people saying it was wrong what I was doing, because I chose to continue with it knowing the end result.
“But I just knew it was the right thing to do.
“When I found out, it was a light at the end of the tunnel.
"The average prognosis for stage four cancer glioblastoma multiforme is 12 months.
“I have had my life taken away from me and I was told it was the end.
“Now I have a life to give."
Proud brother Graeme added: “Nicola gave people hope across the world.
“I have got so many messages from people suffering from the same illness.”