GRIEVING parents have paid a heartfelt tribute to their daughter who died of cancer aged 33.
Bubbly Nicola Payton, from Shotton, died after a two-year fight with breast cancer.
The Jobcentre employee raised thousands of pounds for charity before her death and even organised her own funeral insisting that everybody wear pink.
Speaking from the family home on Taliesin Avenue, parents Colin and Jean said they hoped Nicola’s death would be a lesson to other women.
“Nicola had the most beautiful smile,” said Jean.
“She would be your best friend in ten minutes because she was so bubbly and outgoing. She loved music concerts, travelling to new places and her beloved dog Alfie.”
Dad Colin, 62, added: “Nicola lived for fashion and gossip with her friends. She would talk the head off anybody.
“We have our moments when we have a little cry but the support we have had has been phenomenal.”
Nicola was diagnosed in 2008 and underwent an intensive course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
In 2009, surgeons performed a mastectomy to prevent the disease from spreading.
“It was such a shock when we heard it was cancer,” said Jean. “Nicola lost all of her hair but she was determined not to wear a wig. Instead she wore colourful headscarfs and funky hats.”
But six months later the cancer was back.
“She had a bad cough but didn’t think much of it because she had croup as a child,” said Jean.
“But it got worse so she went to the doctors and found the cancer had spread to her neck.”
Despite another course of chemotherapy, the cancer spread to Nicola’s lungs and brain.
Dad Colin added: “As soon as she was diagnosed with the secondary cancer, we knew she was going to die earlier than she should have.”
The couple, who have no other children, took Nicola on a two-week cruise in the Mediterranean as a break from her treatment, but she developed difficulty with her breathing.
Back home, she was given a wheelchair and oxygen to help her get around.
“She called them ‘Wendy the wheelchair’ and ‘Roxy the oxy’,” said Jean.
“That was just Nicola. She would always make a joke like that. She would never complain.”
But her condition deteriorated and in August she was admitted to Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology.
“There was nothing more they could do so they just made her comfortable,” said Jean.
“She was fed up and just wanted to go. We were there right at the end and held her hand.”
Nicola raised more than £3,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer before her death on September 20.
She also organised her own funeral and forewent the traditional hymns for Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night by the Black Eyed Peas.
Jean is urging women to learn from her daughter’s story and check their breasts regularly.
She added: “I would just say to anybody no matter what their age to just check themselves regularly.
“It only takes a couple of minutes and early detection is the key.
“It’s just horrendous what my Nicola went through.”
The couple thanked family friends, colleagues, neighbours and staff at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology for their support.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Go to www.breastcancercare.org.uk for more information.
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