A heartbroken woman has told how her twin sister died after discovering she had cancer when they were in a car crash together.
Nicola Valbonesi and Kerry Horne sustained severe whiplash when they were hit by a vehicle August 2020.
Nicola’s condition improved, but her sister deteriorated and was referred to hospital, where tests found a tumour which later claimed her life at 35.
Kerry was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2018 and was given the all-clear in February 2019 with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a lumpectomy treatment.
The Daily Record reports how she developed extreme back pain and breathing difficulties and a scan following the car crash revealed the cancer had returned.
Despite trying to fight the disease again, Kerry died in June last year, leaving devastated husband Alan to bring up daughter Orla and twins Emilia and Quinn.
Nicola, 36, from Coatbridge, said: “We were in a car accident where a guy drove into the back of the car. We both suffered whiplash but as I was getting better Kerry wasn’t. She still had a really bad back and shoulder pain and was becoming a little breathless.
“She called her GP looking for stronger painkillers but was advised to go to A&E to be checked out.”
Bank worker Nicola added: “A scan revealed the cancer had returned and the day she found out was the worst on earth.
“Kerry had already battled through her treatment and was in remission so to know she was going to have to go through it all again was devastating.”
The mum-of-three, an NHS nurse who also lived in Coatbridge, restarted treatment but was given the devastating news the cancer had spread to her brain.
She moved from hospital to St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie, South Lanarkshire, but weeks later the doctor told her there was no more they could do. She returned home in May 2021 and died there a few weeks later.
Nicola, who is mum to Luca, seven, and Aden, five, praised staff at the hospice for the care they provided.
She said: “Her mental health had been so low but in the hospice she was like a different person.
“You know these people work hard and are so busy but they made us feel like she was the priority.
“Kerry chose to go home and the last time I saw her was the day before she died. I didn’t think in a million years it would be the last I’d see her. It was heartbreaking to lose my sister and best friend.”
Nicola’s family are backing St Andrew’s Hospice’s Light Up A Life campaign.
The scheme gives people the opportunity to celebrate loved ones by dedicating a light on one of the hospice Christmas trees throughout Lanarkshire, raising vital funds in the process.
Nicola and her family will be attending a ceremony to launch the appeal and switch on the lights on November 27.
Lorna McCafferty of St Andrew’s Hospice said: “Every penny raised through this appeal goes towards the ongoing care and support of the patients and families that St Andrew’s Hospice look after and support.”