South Shields woman who lost brain tumour battle aged just 31 helps to save three lives

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A young woman who lost her battle with a brain tumour aged just 31 has been remembered for her courage and selflessness after she donated her organs to give the gift of life to others.

Samantha Bruce tragically died on March 28, 2021 following a three-year fight with a type of brain tumour called astrocytoma.

The dental nurse from South Shields was diagnosed with the condition at Sunderland Royal Hospital on January 10, 2018 after complaining to her GP of migraines and dizziness.

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Samantha had epileptic tendencies throughout her life and also had a scar on her brain discovered as a child.

Samantha Bruce with brother David Bruce.Samantha Bruce with brother David Bruce.
Samantha Bruce with brother David Bruce.

After mentioning her headaches to the doctor, Samantha was referred to a neurologist and underwent an MRI scan and further tests.

Samantha underwent surgery at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle the month after her diagnosis to remove as much of the tumour as possible.

It was after her operation that doctors gave her the devastating news that she had just five years to live.

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Refusing to give up hope, Samantha underwent an intensive course of radiotherapy at Newcastles’ Freeman Hospital.

Samantha Bruce with partner Craig Hampton.Samantha Bruce with partner Craig Hampton.
Samantha Bruce with partner Craig Hampton.

She remained stable for a while but a regular check-up scan in July 2020 showed that the tumour had changed.

In an effort to stop the growth, Samantha started chemotherapy but her body was unable to tolerate it and she had to stop treatment.

Tragically, Samantha’s condition deteriorated last Christmas and, three months later, she passed away in hospital surrounded by her family.

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Paying tribute to her daughter, Deborah Johnson said: "She was very brave throughout her diagnosis and the bravery and courage she had was outstanding.

Samantha Bruce with mam Deborah Johnson.Samantha Bruce with mam Deborah Johnson.
Samantha Bruce with mam Deborah Johnson.

"She was always optimistic that she would beat it – she never gave up hope."

Samantha was devoted to her partner, Craig Hampton, 32, and her family but she also cared immensely for other people.

So much so that she wanted to ensure her organs were donated so that she could help others.

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Brother David Bruce, 33, said: “Samantha was so brave in the way she handled this cruel disease and was an absolute inspiration to all.

Samantha Bruce with dad Alan and sister Jayne.Samantha Bruce with dad Alan and sister Jayne.
Samantha Bruce with dad Alan and sister Jayne.

"She was a selfless person and was committed to helping others.

"She had opted to donate her organs when she knew she would likely not survive and we are aware that she saved three lives.”

During her fight, Samantha and her partner, Craig, were supported by the Astro Brain Tumour Fund, a charity which offers support and funds medical research to find a cure for brain cancer.

Her family have committed to raising funds for the charity in memory of Samantha and have so far raised £6,497 through Just Giving.

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Individually they are also planning more fundraising activities which include sponsored walks, runs and outdoor events.

They stressed that more funding is needed for research into brain tumours which, according to Brain Tumour Research, kill more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer.

Samantha Bruce with brother Kristopher.Samantha Bruce with brother Kristopher.
Samantha Bruce with brother Kristopher.

Deborah said: “Samantha was very funny and had lots of friends. She was quite outgoing and bubbly.

"She was well-respected at work and just started work at a dental practice in Cleadon, having been at Mydentist on Dean Road before that.”

She added: "She had loads of ambition and was very loyal – she loved her family immensely.”

Samantha’s brother, David, who owns South Shields based roofing company, RoofTrust Ltd, is also donating £50 from the profits of each roof renewal to the Astro Brain Tumour Fund as well as organising a fundraising event each year. The first event looks set to be a sponsored climb of Ben Nevis in August.

He said: "Samantha was really generous and would do anything for anyone.

“I hope that I can try to make some sort of a positive from her passing and remember her in the way that I know she would be proud of.”

Samatha leaves behind partner Craig, parents Alan and Deborah and siblings Kristopher, 35, Jayne, 28 and Sarah, 13, stepdad Peter, and nephew, Zack, seven months.

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