When Lucy Crossley was 27 she had just started a new job with a lingerie company. She and her boyfriend Liam – a personal trainer – were living in Leeds, England. What’s more, they were saving money for their wedding.
But in June 2013, things started to go wrong for the couple. Lucy was in London for work when she called Liam complaining that she didn’t feel quite right. Naturally, Liam was immediately concerned.
She told him that she had a terrible itching sensation all over her body. Initially, the couple thought that it was probably due to an allergy of some description. However, the itching proved to be relentless.
So Lucy visited the doctor and was told that she may have contracted scabies. Terrible itchiness is the main symptom of this condition, which is caused by mites under the skin. She was then sent home with some creams to apply.
However, the lotion didn’t seem to work, and the itching continued. In fact, Lucy was scratching herself so much that she ended up making her skin bleed. As a result, she went back to see the doctor again.
Her physician gave her antihistamines this time, thinking that she was allergic to something. But once again, this did nothing to relieve her symptoms. Lucy continued to suffer, so the next stop for her was hospital. She desperately needed to get to the bottom of her strange condition.
And it was after the visit to hospital that Lucy and Liam’s world came crashing down. In fact, she was given a diagnosis she had never even considered. The unbearable itching turned out to be a symptom of cancer.
Crossley was told she had bile-duct cancer, otherwise known as cholangiocarcinoma. What’s more, she had an advanced tumor in her liver, and it was too late to operate on it. Naturally, she was devastated.
“The moment they told us she had cancer, she broke down,” Liam, told the Daily Mail in February 2016. He recalled trying his hardest to stay strong for her. Naturally, he had been fighting back the tears himself.
Finding cancer in a person as young as Lucy is rare. Indeed, cholangiocarcinoma normally affects people over the age of 60, meaning that Lucy was a particularly unusual case. And after taking in the shocking diagnosis, Lucy decided to embark on a course of chemotherapy.
It was during a break in treatment that Lucy and Liam tied the knot. And Lucy looked stunning, despite her terrible disease. “She didn’t even look ill, she was the most beautiful bride,” her proud husband told Metro in February 2016. “She didn’t feel as if there was anything wrong with her.”
Sadly, however, the newlyweds’ bliss wasn’t to last long. After getting married in October 2014, Lucy hit a major hurdle in February 2015. Her tumor started to constrict a vein in her liver and she needed an operation to fix it.
Even though the cancer could not be cured, the surgery was supposed to prolong her life. But tragically, Lucy died in the operating theatre. She was only 29 years old.
Since Lucy’s death, her heartbroken husband has spoken publicly about his late wife and her positive attitude to her diagnosis. “She still managed to make my life amazing every single day and did me the honor of becoming my wife and making me the proudest man alive,” Liam told the Daily Mail.
“I’m certain that every person who met Lucy or was blessed to have her in their lives will live the rest of their lives truly inspired by everything she was and will always continue to be,” he added. Liam has also been campaigning to raise awareness of the little-known disease that claimed his wife’s life, cholangiocarcinoma.
When Lucy was ill, the couple relied on the charity AMMF, an organization that assists people diagnosed with this particular type of cancer. The charity offered vital support to the couple during Lucy’s illness.
And now both Liam and the charity want to increase public awareness of the disease. The CEO of AMMF, Helen Morement, told The Huffington Post, “Cholangiocarcinoma is a truly devastating and ruthless cancer, the incidence of which is rising around the world with younger and younger adults being affected.”
In 2013, the year Lucy fell ill, almost 2,000 people were diagnosed with bile duct cancer in England alone. Unfortunately, it’s a notoriously difficult condition to diagnose because the symptoms are very subtle in the beginning. Indeed, Morement even referred to the illness as “a silent killer.”
And a year after his wife’s death, Liam is trying his best to turn his awful experience into something positive. Nothing can bring Lucy back now, but he wants to help others avoid going through the pain he experienced losing her.
“No one can really empathize – but I wouldn’t want people to feel the way I feel,” he said. He added that he all he wants is “greater awareness of this disease and to prevent any more people suffering the way Lucy and I did.”