An NHS worker who worked tirelessly to help improve outcomes for brain tumour patients since her own cancer diagnosis, has died less than three years later.

Zara Taylor from Blackpool passed away on Saturday, October 21, aged 33, with her husband Jordan and beloved dogs by her side.

Zara was just 30 when she was diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma (GBM) – a high-grade form of brain cancer, in January 2021, after suffering a number of seizures out of the blue.

She underwent surgery, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy to give her the chance to spend more time with her loved ones, knowing that the average survival prognosis for this type of brain tumour is 12 to 18 months. Zara also got in touch with the Care Oncology Clinic (COC) in London and was prescribed a number of repurposed drugs to help her prospects of survival.

Lancashire Telegraph: Zara and Jordan on their honeymoonZara and Jordan on their honeymoon (Image: Brain Tumour Research)

Her husband Jordan, 31, met Zara 10 years ago through his sister Kendall. They’d only been married just over a year when Zara started having what turned out to be seizures.

Jordan said: “Zara was beautiful – a really lovely, caring person who never liked a fuss. She was funny with a dark sense of humour, which she kept right to the end, and she never gave herself credit for her achievements."

When Zara learnt the implications of her diagnosis, she was determined to beat the odds and be one of the lucky 5 per cent who live for more than five years post-diagnosis but died just three years after she was diagnosed.

Jordan continued: "Our dreams included doing lots of travelling and having children. Zara had a minor gynaecological procedure in December 2020 to help her fertility.

"Sadly, just days later, she had her first seizure and instead of starting a family, Zara had to make do with mothering her surrogate children – her beloved dogs Lola and Tia.

“Every day after Zara’s diagnosis was a bonus. We made sure we had plans for every weekend and every holiday.

“She was so selfless and wanted to help others diagnosed with this devastating disease, leading her to set up a Fundraising Group under the umbrella of the national charity Brain Tumour Research to help raise awareness and much-needed funds to help find a cure.”

Her fundraising activities for Zara’s Appeal for a Cure, until she became too ill to continue, included the charity’s 10,000 Steps a Day in February Challenge, Jog 26 Miles in May, even though Zara was only able to walk the miles, Wear A Hat Day and Cycle 274 Miles in August, as well as a glittering party night at Lytham Cricket & Sports Club attended by more than 100 family and friends.

Lancashire Telegraph: Zara and Jordan with Zara's parents Beverly and KeithZara and Jordan with Zara's parents Beverly and Keith (Image: Brain Tumour Research)

Along with incredible support from friends and particularly her dad, Keith Walsh, who abseiled down Manchester’s Trafford Centre, Zara’s Appeal for a Cure has raised more than £19,000 for Brain Tumour Research.

Jordan continued: “I particularly want to thank the Co-op (where he works) for all the care and support they have shown me throughout Zara’s illness and now, as well as the district nurses who looked after her amazingly, and the community team from Trinity Hospice, who enabled us to keep Zara at home right up until the end.

“Until you find yourself in the position, you imagine that everything is equal in terms of cancer, but I am angry that brain tumours continue to kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet the funding to find a cure is woefully inadequate.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Zara with her dogs Lola and TiaZara with her dogs Lola and Tia (Image: Brain Tumour Research)

Zara planned her own funeral which she wanted to be a party or celebration of her life, and not a time for mourning, and asked that people donate to Brain Tumour Research rather than buying flowers. She also asked that everyone wear something pink which was her favourite colour, as well as one of the charity’s brand colours.

The funeral is at Carleton Crematorium on Thursday, November 16 at 2.45pm and the celebration will continue at the Marton Institute in Blackpool.

Matthew Price, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “Zara’s story is a stark reminder of the indiscriminate nature of this disease, which can affect anyone at any time.

"We’re really grateful to Zara and her family for their incredible fundraising support and for helping us to raise awareness and offer our sincere condolences to all who knew and loved Zara.

“We will remember Zara as we continue our work to raise awareness of this devastating disease and to fund research to help find a cure. She will be forever in our hearts.”