A “fit and intelligent” young woman died from an undiagnosed tumour after 14 doctor visits where she was told she suffered from migraines and headaches.
Stephanie Dickson, 24, suffered from a sore neck, severe headaches and dizziness for nine months.
She had a gut feeling something was wrong, but doctors repeatedly told her she was suffering from stress-related migraines and prescribed painkillers.
Her headaches and dizziness became so overwhelming that she went to A&E at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in April 5, 2013.
She was put on a drip but discharged the next morning.
But the “happy, fit and intelligent” office worker was found dead in bed by her family hours later.
And according to doctors, if she had been given the correct treatment up until the night she died, she would have had a 98 per cent chance of survival.
Her best friend Laura Aberdour, 27, has spoken out about the devastating time her friends and family have been through.
And she is encouraging other young woman never to back down if they think something is wrong.
The mum-of-one is in the process of planning her first fundraising event in memory of her friend.
Laura said: “We have all been left broken by what’s happened. It’s truly devastating.
“It’s taken me until now to be strong enough to talk about it because it should never have happened.
“She was only 24.”
Laura befriended Stephanie, known to most as ‘Steph’, at high school.
When she was 14, Stephanie transferred to Leith Academy, Edinburgh, from Drummond High and Laura was assigned as her buddy.
Laura said: “Steph had so much energy, she was always laughing and smiling, and she loved socialising.
“She had just bought her first flat and had everything going for her when she passed away.
“She was one of those girls everyone wanted to be like. She was amazing.
“For a while she had been complaining of a sore head, but I was only 23 at the time. I wasn’t too concerned.
“I guess when you’re young you think you’re invincible – I never even thought about anything as serious as a brain tumour.
“But I do remember going to the gym with her one day, and she suggested then she might have a brain tumour.
“I remember saying to her ‘oh, don’t say that’ but I do think she knew all along something wasn’t quite right. She persistently went to the doctors.”
Laura added: “Steph was so fit and she had an amazing figure. It’s just so tragic. She had her full life ahead of her.
“We put faith in medical professionals but nobody took Steph seriously when she thought something was wrong.
“She didn’t need to die.
“Up until the night before she died, she had a 98 per cent chance of survival.”
An investigation into her death was told that her tumour, which was benign but had caused a build-up of pressure inside her skull, could almost certainly have been treated successfully right up until the night before her death.
Laura and a group of Stephanie’s friends have now organised a charity event to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity.
The organisation funds pioneering research to increase survival, raise awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours.
It also provides support for those affected by the condition and aims to improve their quality of life.
Geraldine Pipping, director of fundraising at The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We receive no government funding and rely 100 per cent on voluntary donations and gifts in Wills.
“It’s only through the efforts of people such as Stephanie’s family, friends and everyone tirelessly fundraising in her memory, that we can work towards our twin goals of doubling survival and halving the harm caused by brain tumours.
“Every penny they raise will be committed to finding a cure for this devastating disease.
“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and people under 40 in the UK and survival rates have not improved significantly over the last 40 years. This must change.”
Laura’s Ladies Day fundraiser will take place on Saturday March 18 in Portobello, Edinburgh, at the Beach Lane Social Club.
The day will consist of games and it will be an opportunity for Stephanie’s friends to get together and reminisce their happy times with her.
Laura added: “The aim of the Ladies Day is to keep Steph alive and fight for her.
“We need to do all we can to raise awareness of brain tumours and to get the message out there that if someone thinks they have one, don’t back down.
“If you’re not well, please get checked out.”
Tickets for the fundraiser cost £5, and money can be donated to Stephanie’s Just-Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Laura-Aberdour1