Mother, 37, who had her IVF baby three months early so she could begin treatment for cancer dies less than a week after being told tumours had spread to her heart
- Gemma Collins was diagnosed with sarcoma while pregnant with baby Phoebe
- The mum from Cramlington, Northumberland died after crushing scan results
- Gemma’s worst fear was that her daughter Phoebe would grow up without her
A mother who had her baby three months early so she could start treatment for cancer has died less than a week after a set of devastating scan results.
Gemma Collins, from Cramlington, Northumberland, was diagnosed with sarcoma last February while pregnant with her much-longed-for daughter Phoebe.
The cancer was a crushing blow as the 37-year-old had already gone through several rounds of IVF treatment to fulfil her dream of becoming a mother.
Gemma Collins with her precious daughter Phoebe whom she gave birth to three months early to undergo cancer treatment
With the cancer growing rapidly, Phoebe had to be born three months early so Gemma could start treatment.
She and her baby both seemed to be making an incredible recovery until May this year, when doctors found new tumours in the back of Gemma’s head.
She died on Friday after a sudden deterioration that left her family shocked.
Her mother Margaret Bateman, 61, said: ‘Everything just happened so quickly.
‘They were going to operate on June 1 but couldn’t because one of the tumours was too big.
‘She had three lots of chemo and got the results of another scan last Monday. They said one of the tumours had grown on her heart and there another one at the front.
‘Gemma was very tired, very exhausted and getting a little bit confused, and by Thursday I could see a terrible change in her.
‘She went into hospital at Cramlington and her organs were closing down. She tried, and fought so much, but her body was so exhausted.’
Proud parents Anthony and Gemma Collins shortly after the birth of their beloved daughter Phoebe
Gemma died at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington with her family around her.
She leaves behind husband Anthony, brothers Tony and Craig, and her precious daughter Phoebe, now 14 months old.
Margaret said: ‘It’s just devastating, absolutely devastating.
‘Phoebe was her life, and Gemma was complete when she was born. It was what she was waiting for, and Phoebe is such a little miracle.
Baby Phoebe was born three months early so that mum Gemma could start her cancer treatment early
‘We’re so grateful to all the staff on Ward 35 at the Freeman Hospital, who treated Gemma’s cancer. They did everything they possibly could for her.’
Gemma, who had been married for five years, worked at Fenwicks for 18 years as a stock controller and had started a job at NBT Group just months before falling ill.
Paying tribute to her daughter, Margaret said: ‘She’s such an inspiration, nothing ever fazed her, and she did enjoy the time she had with Phoebe before the cancer came back.
Gemma’s worst fear was that her daughter Phoebe would grow up without a mother
In June, Gemma, described how her worst fear was Phoebe growing up without a mother.
Gemma said at the time: ‘It’s so hard when you’ve wanted something for so long that life can be so cruel to take it away.
‘I was doing so well, to go to bed one night and then feel like that again. I can’t quite get over the shock.’
What are sarcomas?
Sarcomas are uncommon cancers that can affect any part of the body, on the inside or outside including the bone, muscle and fatty tissues. Around 5,300 people a year are diagnosed with it in the UK each year.
These cancers commonly affect the arms, legs and trunk. They also appear in the stomach and intestines as well as behind the abdomen and the female reproductive system.
Gynaecological sarcomas occur in the female reproductive system: the uterus (womb), ovaries, vagina, vulva and fallopian tubes. Women of all ages can be affected.
Sarcoma diagnoses now make up about 1.4% of all cancer diagnoses in the UK and the majority of people are diagnosed when their sarcoma is about 10cm.
Survival rates have been very gradually increasing over the last two decades in the UK. A five-year survival rate for the cancer stands at 55 per cent.
Some 78 per cent of people (that’s almost eight in 10) diagnosed with sarcoma in the UK will live up to a year.
Source: Sarcoma UK