A woman from East Lancashire with terminal brain cancer has celebrated her university graduation despite doctors saying she would never live to see the day.

Laura Nuttall, from Barrowford in Lancashire, has graduated from The University of Manchester with a 2:1 degree in politics, philosophy and economics.

Laura who has Glioblastoma Multiforme, an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer, was told she only had a year to live in 2018 but has since been defying the odds and ticking items off her ‘bucket list’.

Lancashire Telegraph: Laura Nuttall with her family on her University of Manchester graduationLaura Nuttall with her family on her University of Manchester graduation

Laura said it “feels pretty epic” to finally graduate after years of hard work.

She said: “My doctors told me I wouldn’t be going back to university full stop and now I am graduation

“It feels pretty epic to be graduating and I didn’t think I would be – but here I am, finally.

“I don't think I would have been able to achieve my degree without the help and support provided by The University of Manchester, especially the student welfare officers.”



Laura’s mum, Nicola, said: “Laura was told that she had a life expectancy of around a year and wouldn’t be going back to university at all, so to see her graduate is just incredible.

 “I know how hard she’s had to work to achieve her degree alongside her chemotherapy, surgery and treatment, and this day is a real celebration of her tenacity. We really couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Professor Jackie Carter, said: “I have met very few people with such a determination to live their life to the full.

“Unlike most of my students who are wondering what to do with their futures, Laura quite literally doesn't know what hers holds - but she's getting on with it, and doing it all with a spirit that shines through her every pore when you meet her.”

After a routine eye test in 2018, Laura was given the devastating news that she had cancer.

She was later found to have eight tumours which led to her leaving university in London to concentrate on treatment.

She bravely endured a craniotomy to remove the largest tumour, and then started a gruelling programme of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

However, the family then discovered that an innovative new treatment was available in Germany, and with the help of donations from friends, family and an online fundraiser, Laura was able to start the immunotherapy.

Despite travelling for the gruelling treatment, which was made even more difficult by restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, on top of undergoing more surgery in March and December, working as an ambassador for The Brain Tumour Charity and helping out in her community, she somehow continued to excel in her studies.

As a result, she has now been able to celebrate her graduation from her Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree with Mum Nicola, sister Grace and Dad Mark.

Laura plans to carry on raising money for brain charities, raising awareness of brain conditions and ticking off her bucket list items.

Embarking on a helicopter ride and operating a crane are just some of the bucket list items she has ticket off already.

Last year, she even inspired Peter Kay to return to the public eye for the first time in years.

Peter Kay performed two sold-out sets at Manchester’s O2 Apollo to raise money for the 22-year-old to have immunotherapy treatment in Germany.

She has recently joined the board of Our Brain Bank, a charity working to turn Glioblastoma from terminal to treatable.

The Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre opened at The University of Manchestery last year.

The centre brings together some of the world’s leading brain tumour, stroke and dementia scientists to carry out ground-breaking research and develop new treatments to transform the lives of people with neurological diseases.

If you would like to find out more about how you could support the future of the Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre, please contact: supporters@manchester.ac.uk.