Andrew and his girlfriend, Abby Webb, were bowled over by the help they received at Penny Brohn. When Abby died after a short battle with lung cancer, he was determined to raise money to keep her memory alive.
“Penny Brohn helped us live as well as possible and allowed Abby to retain her smile. They continue to support me. Their support is invaluable, priceless and immeasurable.”
After a long bike ride for my birthday, my girlfriend Abby became unusually short of breath on June 8, 2015. Abby visited her GP and was given an inhaler as the doctor suspected asthma. The breathlessness carried on all week and upon returning to the doctors they tested her oxygen saturation levels. They were so low that Abby visited the hospital for more tests.
The next day her lung collapsed. We couldn’t believe it. No one was more fit and active. Abby underwent an operation that day to unblock her main airway. It was all so sudden and doctors battled to save her life.
More devastating news followed a week later. Abby’s lung had collapsed due to a cancerous tumour in her left lung. She was diagnosed with rare (one-in-four-million) Large Cell Neuroendocrine Carcinoma. It was horribly unfair that Abby had lung cancer – never having smoked a cigarette.
We left hospital completely shocked. We had dinner with our parents that evening, and despite the dark cloud hanging over her, Abby still managed to smile and make us smile throughout.
Abby’s determination always struck me. She often said things like “I’m fighting it – it won’t stop me”. It was hard not to believe her. Abby had four more operations, including the removal of her lower left lung – but the cancer invaded too quickly.
Penny Brohn UK echoed Abby’s positivity. They were an amazing bunch – to all of us. The staff were brilliant, easy to get on with and they loved Abby. Everyone loved her – she was just that kind of person. Penny Brohn helped us live as well as possible and allowed Abby to retain her smile. They continue to support me. Their support is invaluable, priceless and immeasurable.
Taking back control
In Abby’s words: “I cannot tell you what an incredible place Penny Brohn is, and the free courses and people make it truly inspiring. The impact on people going through this life-changing journey is phenomenal. How it helps people take back control of their health, wellbeing and lives is just incredible, particularly when they’ve been in such a dark place, with no hope and light.”
She took her last breath six months after diagnosis on December 9, 2015, just two weeks before her 25th birthday. Abby’s unerring personality and Penny Brohn’s support meant she never gave in. Saying goodbye was heartbreaking. Although the only thing worse would be not knowing her at all.
Honouring her memory
To honour her memory and her wishes, we are doing all we can to fundraise for Penny Brohn. We looked into Pay for a Day, a chance to cover a day’s running costs in Abby’s name. Since, our efforts, from my mammoth cycle with friends, to her friend’s glamorous Bollywood Ball (the theme Abby had chosen for her 25th birthday), have paid for three days. Those days helped many others facing cancer and we will continue so more benefit. I hope people also look to Pay for a Day, so others can benefit from Penny Brohn’s amazing and ground breaking free services.