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Family's warning after tragic death of devoted Ipswich Hospital nurse from brain tumour

Sara Finlay died as a result of a brain tumour. Picture: COURTESY SARA FINLAY'S FAMILY

Sara Finlay died as a result of a brain tumour. Picture: COURTESY SARA FINLAY'S FAMILY

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It started as little more than a headache, but ended up tragically taking a devoted mother's life. And now the family of a popular Ipswich Hospital nurse who "just loved helping people" have urged others suffering from everyday aches and pains to get checked over by a doctor following her devastating death from a brain tumour.

Sara Finlay died as a result of a brain tumour. Picture: COURTESY SARA FINLAY'S FAMILYSara Finlay died as a result of a brain tumour. Picture: COURTESY SARA FINLAY'S FAMILY

Sara Finlay had dedicated her life to helping others as a nurse - first at Ipswich's Nuffield Hospital and then at Ipswich Hospital's eye clinic for the past four or five years.

“I think she just loved helping people,” said her daughter Louisa Wilkinson.

“Mum had been a nurse her whole life. She knew she wanted to be a nurse from a very early age.

“Every patient she put 100% effort into. She just absolutely loved it. She just gave everything to others and didn't expect anything in return.”

Sara Finlay died as a result of a brain tumour. Picture: COURTESY SARA FINLAY'S FAMILYSara Finlay died as a result of a brain tumour. Picture: COURTESY SARA FINLAY'S FAMILY

But a visit to the doctors last year signalled the start of devastating brain tumour which would progress so aggressively that it would claim her life within just nine months.

At first, it was thought she was suffering from nothing more than migraines.

However in July 2018, it was discovered she had a bleed on the brain.

In August she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and told that she could have anywhere between 16 months and five years to live.

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But despite the best efforts of doctors who gave her radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the cancer quickly spread across her brain.

She died peacefully at Ipswich's St Elizabeth Hospice on April 7, aged 55.

Even during her illness Ms Finlay was determined to get back to work, such was her devotion to her job and helping others.

“After she was diagnosed, she went back to work because she just absolutely loved her job and loved having a purpose,” said Mrs Wilkinson, aged 24.

“It really pushed her to get back.”

Of her mother's illness, Mrs Wilkinson said the problem “wasn't investigated until she had a bleed on the brain”, adding: “Later in the space of three weeks, she went from being stable to only having a couple of weeks.

“It's important people know what the symptoms are and catch it early. It's important people know about the risks.”

She also said her mother was “very family orientated”, adding: “She had two main loves in life - her children and her job. Nothing else really mattered to her.”

Ms Finlay's funeral took place at Seven Hills Crematorium on Thursday, May 2.

She is survived by her three children Louisa Wilkinson, Gaby Finlay, 20 and Joe Finlay, 19.

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