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A student who thought shoulder pain was due to sleeping awkwardly but was actually cancer dies aged 19

Lulu Blundell, a courageous student from Rotherham, sadly succumbed to cancer at the age of 19. Initially mistaking her shoulder pain as a result of uncomfortable sleep, Lulu received the devastating news of her cancer diagnosis just days later.

In 2019, Lulu was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that primarily affects bones and the surrounding tissues. Over the course of eight months, she underwent chemotherapy treatments every other week, and in October 2019, she underwent the amputation of one of her legs.

By September 2021, Lulu had completed her treatment and had enrolled in English studies at Newcastle University. However, in April 2022, she began experiencing persistent shoulder pain, which she initially dismissed as a sports injury or a consequence of sleeping awkwardly. Nevertheless, after several weeks, a consultant arranged a CT scan, revealing the heartbreaking news that her cancer had returned.

The diagnosis was dire, as Lulu now had new and “significant” tumors in her shoulder, ribs, and chest. Initially, she was informed that she had five to ten years left to live, but tragically, she passed away a mere nine months later.

In the wake of her diagnosis, Lulu was determined to create lasting memories. She embarked on trips to Magaluf with friends, and Amsterdam with her boyfriend Paddy, and enjoyed cherished family outings to London, Northumberland, and Manchester.

Danielle, Lulu’s Teenage Cancer Trust Nurse, alongside NHS staff at the charity’s units in Newcastle and Sheffield, went above and beyond to ensure that Lulu could fulfill her desires in the limited time she had left. For example, they arranged her attendance at Glastonbury, coordinating pain relief and liaising with local hospital contacts for any emergencies.

In September, Lulu crossed the finish line at “Run with Lulu,” a special charity 5k event organized by her family and rugby club, in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Despite enduring a broken shoulder blade due to the tumor, she participated with unwavering determination.

Unfortunately, a subsequent scan revealed that cancer had progressed more rapidly than anticipated, giving Lulu only a few months to live instead of years. Despite this devastating news, she continued to embrace life as much as possible. However, by December, her condition deteriorated significantly.

“Those last three weeks were incredibly difficult to witness as Lulu became so ill and unresponsive,” shared Teenage Cancer Trust nurse Danielle. “We were all under immense stress, with one of us by her side 24/7. Some nights, she endured intense pain.”

Nurse Danielle further expressed, “We will forever mourn the loss of Lulu, but finding solace in knowing that we were able to fulfill her wishes brings some comfort. It is crucial for me to channel something positive from this tragedy, which is why sharing our story holds deep significance. We are determined to continue the fundraising efforts Lulu initiated for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

She raised over £95k to support other young people battling cancer, and our aim is to reach a total of £100k. It is inconceivable to think that no good can arise from this tragedy, and this drives me forward, regardless of the time it takes.”

Lulu’s bravery and the impact she made in her short life will continue to inspire and drive efforts to support young individuals facing similar challenges.

Moriah Ballard
Moriah Ballard
Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.


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