A BRAVE mum ‘kept smiling to the end’ while battling an aggressive and inoperable brain tumour for 15 months.
Angela Hamilton-Smith, 34, from Morse Street, Burnley, died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family, almost a year-and-a-half after being diagnosed with a walnut-sized tumour in the centre of her brain.
At first, doctors at Royal Blackburn Hospital thought Angela was suffering complications from a hysterectomy five weeks earlier when, in October 2012, she began suffering nausea, dizziness and blurred vision.
But when Angela - who leaves husband Howard and daughter, Atlanta - lost her vision altogether, doctors took a CT scan and discovered a growth.
Doctors at Royal Preston Hospital discovered Angela, an administrator at Lancashire Sports Repairs, had an astrocytoma, cancerous brain cells, and delivered the devastating news.
But her family said Angela never gave up fighting and her sister, Susan Harrison, 39, from Colne, said Angela surprised the doctors at every turn.
She said: “She really did fight it. It was a huge fight and I’ve no idea how she did it. She fought to her last breath and stayed as long as she could.”
Angela’s mum, Lynn Harrison, 58, said her daughter knew she was dying when doctors gave her the diagnosis.
But Lynn said doctors and nurses told the family that while Angela was struggling with incredible levels of pain, she was one of the nicest patients they had ever cared for.
She said: “The doctors and nurses said Angie would smile at everyone. I don’t know how she did it with everything she was going through.
“We were on holiday when we got texts saying Angela was ill and got the next flight home.
“She said she was so glad we came back and she said her goodbyes to us.”
Mr Hamilton-Smith said his wife was a devoted mother to her 14-year-old daughter.
He said: “Atlanta was the most important thing in Angie’s life. They were very close. Angie adored her.”
After being admitted to Royal Preston Hospital for a biopsy on the cancerous tissue, Angela was in and out of hospital, receiving care at Burnley General Hospital Rehabilitation Unit, Clitheroe Hospital, and at home.
Over the following 12 months, Angela had another biopsy, along with gruelling courses of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and steroids.
In October 2013, the family were told Angela had a matter of weeks or months left to live, and she was discharged to be cared for at home with family in the Ribble Valley.
Alan Harrison, 37, Angela’s brother, said the family were not given a prediction of how much time they had left with her.
He said: “You just have to trust what medical professionals tell you but we lived in hope that she would get better. We had to.“The doctors told Angie that she didn’t have very long left, but because of the tumour, Angie didn’t remember, which was a blessing.
”The doctors and nurses did everything they could for her, we couldn’t thank them enough.
“The Ribble Valley district nurses were fantastic.”
Alan’s wife Lisa gave birth to a little girl yesterday (Friday) morning, three days after Angela passed away on Tuesday.
The new dad said: “We’ve named her Ruby Angela Harrison, after Angie. It’s pretty amazing. It’s come as some happiness after all of the sadness.”
Angela also leaves her dad David.
Angela’s funeral will be held at Burnley Cemetery Chapel in Rossendale Road at 1.45pm on Tuesday, then afterwards at Rosegrove Unity. Donations should be made to The Brain Tumour Charity c/o Alderson and Horan Funeral Services.