Video: Battling Redditch student Laura dishes up to Beat Cancer - The Redditch Standard
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17th Aug, 2022

Video: Battling Redditch student Laura dishes up to Beat Cancer

Correspondent 6th Oct, 2020 Updated: 6th Oct, 2020

A REDDITCH student who ‘died’ for 25 minutes after her heart stopped due to complications of cancer treatment, is biting back at the disease by supporting Sunday Brunch for Stand Up To Cancer.

Laura Balazs, aged 22, is turning up the heat on cancer this October as she prepares to serve up a special Hungarian fundraising feast for her family to support life-saving research.

And she is calling on people across the county to join her and cook up some cash with a special Sunday Brunch for Stand Up To Cancer.

Laura spent two weeks in a coma and two months in hospital after the near-death incident at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in January 2019. When she woke from the coma she had lost most of her memories, spoke only her native Hungarian, and had to learn to walk again.

Laura, from Batchley, was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) in October 2018 after suffering months of persistent coughing and weight loss.

Scans showed tumours in her chest that were pressing on her lungs and causing her symptoms.

Laura underwent chemotherapy at Worcestershire Royal Hospital – spending her 21st having treatment – but instead of shrinking, her tumours started to grow. She was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Crisis point came on New Year’s Eve 2018 when she became so breathless her parents wouldn’t let her out to celebrate with friends.

On New Year’s Day they were so alarmed at her breathing they rushed her to A&E at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

There Laura scans showed her chemotherapy had caused fluid to build up around her heart, stopping her breathing.

“ I went into cardiac arrest. In fact, I died that day,” said Laura.

“My heart stopped for 25 minutes and my parents were called back to the hospital to find the nurses trying to manually restart my heart while simultaneously draining the fluid.

“They eventually restarted my heart with a defibrillator after 25 minutes of trying. It must have been so awful for my mum and dad.

Laura was put into a medically induced coma to protect her brain and body. Her parents were warned that, if she survived, she may have suffered brain damage.

Two weeks later Laura was woken out of her coma on intensive care. Her recent memories had been wiped, she did not remember that she had cancer, and had no idea what had happened.

“At first I would only speak Hungarian, my childhood language and I didn’t remember anything about my illness or events from recent years,” said Laura.

Gradually Laura rebuilt her life and in February 2019 she was put onto a different chemotherapy regime which successfully in shrank her tumours.

In June 2019 Laura had a stem cell transplant to reboot her immune system and since then scans have shown the tumours in her chest have shrunk and are no longer active. She has been declared in remission and has just started a course in theatrical make-up at South and City College Birmingham.

She said: “When my memories came back I remembered watching Stand Up To Cancer in hospital with my sisters when I was first ill. The comedy made us laugh so much, and the cancer stories made us cry. It made me realise how important research is and how much fundraising matters.

“I’m really looking forward to making Sunday Brunch for my family. I’ll be cooking up a feast of Stuffed Cabbages (Töltött Káposzta) which is a traditional Hungarian dish that we usually eat on special occasions.

“It’s a great way to join Stand Up To Cancer and do our bit for research. I hope other people will read my story and be inspired to join us by holding their own Sunday Brunch.”

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 which aims to get new cancer tests and treatments to people who need them the most.

Foodies can sign up for a free fundraising kit with everything they need and for added inspiration, during October four special episodes of Sunday Brunch will be shown on Channel 4 showcasing some of the delicious Stand Up To Cancer recipes.

Get a free fundraising kit at su2c.org.uk/brunch.

Video: Laura tells the story of her near-death experience: https://youtu.be/S3m4Mr0Lm2U

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