A LOVING mother who declined treatment for ovarian cancer while pregnant to save her baby’s life has died.

Tributes have been paid to ‘amazing and brave’ Gemma Nuttall, of Helmshore, who died on Sunday following a five-year fight with cancer.

The 29-year-old leaves four-year-old daughter Penelope.

A Facebook page for Gemma’s memories was set up by her mum, Helen Sproates, after she was moved to Pendleside Hospice at the start of the month.

In a post, Ms Sproates invited all of Gemma’s friends and family to leave messages and memories which could be shared in Gemma’s last days and cherished forever by Penelope.

Ms Sproates said: “All of us are all totally devastated and heartbroken.

“Gemma touched so many people’s lives and it’s only at times like this you begin to realise how well thought of she was from all the beautiful comments people are leaving for her on her Facebook page ‘gemmasmemories’.

“The common theme seems to be how kind and gentle she was and never had a bad word to say about anyone.

“She was always putting others before herself. She was a kind and thoughtful daughter with a caring nature which obviously came across to her friends as well.

“She was very funny with a wicked sense of humour, and had a great sense of fun. She loved her music and movies but most of all she loved her special little Penelope and was a fantastic mummy to her.

“They had a very special relationship and Penelope has been her rock and her reason to keep going as long as she did.

“It is heartbreaking to know Penelope is now having to grow up without her mummy’s love or influence, but we will keep Gemma’s memory alive and have made her a memory box already.

“Luckily, we have a good relationship with Penelope’s daddy and his family who are now raising her.

“The world is missing one very special young woman who had a lot to offer and it’s cruel and tragic that she has been taken from us and her daughter who is just four.

“As her mum I have been on this journey with her for just over five years now and there were times we thought we had it beaten, but it just wouldn’t leave her alone and the cancer kept returning to attack her over and over again.

“To watch your child suffer this way over such a long period of time has been almost unbearable for me but somehow we got through until this final attack which invaded her brain and spinal cord.

“We simply ran out of treatment options and the immunotherapy she received here in the UK just didn’t work – the cancer was too aggressive and widespread .

“Our lives will never be the same again as any parent that loses a child will tell you.

“We are numb and in shock at the moment and the thought of a life with Gemma is again almost unbearable.

“We have had some tremendous support on our journey from family, friends and professionals and we would like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts. We could never have done this without you.”

Tributes on the Facebook page include Carrie Devlin saying: “Gemma, I’m super proud of how you have fought so, so hard against this horrible illness.

“Never once did you show any weakness, in fact you made me see that even when things seem impossible you found a way forward and for that I am proud to call you a dear friend.”

Frank Spencer said: “She is a true diamond of a girl. Not many people laugh at my backseat car humour.

“Knowing that I’d given Gemma a few giggles will remain cherished both within my heart and thoughts forever.”

Mandy Barnett said: “Such an amazing and very brave young woman you are Gemma.

“Your strength through all this is truly admirable. You’ve just carried on and even when you’ve been so unwell still had the strength to go into work and carry on.”

Gemma was discovered to have ovarian cancer when she was 16-weeks pregnant with Penelope.

The former Haslingden High School pupil was then given the option to have a termination so she could start life-saving treatment, but she delayed the treatment until after she gave birth.

Following months of gruelling chemotherapy, Gemma was given the all-clear in 2017 before she was told the devastating news that her cancer had returned and spread.

Her journey gathered the support of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Titanic actress Kate Winslet – who not only contributed towards Gemma’s treatment, but also helped get the word out there about her condition.

The family have formed the Gemma Rose Foundation so they can help others going through similar pain.

Ms Sproates said: “Supporting Penelope and working on Gemma’s foundation that we are forming with the help of Kate Winslet to help raise money for young parents with cancer will keep us busy.”

Gemma’s funeral is on October 30 at Accrington Crematorium at 2.20pm where family will be celebrating her life and asking people to wear blue or pink or a combination of both.

Donations will be accepted for her foundation in lieu of flowers.