Family will run together for beloved Nikki

From left, Natalie Bennett, Alyson Slatcher, Anne Bennett and Vanessa Slatcher.
From left, Natalie Bennett, Alyson Slatcher, Anne Bennett and Vanessa Slatcher.

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The family of a Gosport woman who died suddenly of cancer will be running in the Race for Life in her memory.

Nikki Coombes, of Horton Road, Bridgemary, died of breast cancer 44 days after being diagnosed – aged only 36.

Nikki Coombes

Nikki Coombes

Nikki, who worked in catering at The Meadows, Coldeast, Sarisbury Green, had started to feel ill towards the end of 2009.

At first it was put down to flu, but very quickly Nikki began to lose weight and had a persistent cough.

She was referred to hospital for tests, where it was confirmed she had an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Nikki, mother of Olivia, 14, and Tom, 12, was diagnosed with cancer in March last year.

She underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but the cancer had spread to her lungs, liver and back.

Sadly, six weeks later Nikki lost her battle.

Her mother Anne Bennett, 61, said: ‘Nikki had to face very intensive treatment, which knocked her for six, but in March doctors told her there was nothing further they could do.

‘Nikki had always been healthy. Nobody in our family had previously had cancer and Nikki’s symptoms weren’t typical.’

Anne added: ‘Although she was very ill, we were still shocked at her sudden death.

‘She stayed as positive as she could. Although she was my daughter, I can say she was one of the nice people you only occasionally find in the world.

‘She was never malicious and never had a bad word to say about anybody.

‘All she wanted in life was to go back to work and look after her children as they were everything to her.

‘One of the last things she said to her children was that she was sorry. We want to raise money so no family has to go through what we did.’

Nikki’s family will be taking part in the Race For Life, which takes place at Southsea Common on July 24.

Sisters Alyson Slatcher, 36, Natalie Bennett, 25, Stephanie Bennett, 31, and niece Vanessa Slatcher, 17, will all be running the 5k race.

Alyson had taken part in the race last year.

She said: ‘Nikki was the first person to sponsor me. I am not known to walk anywhere if I can go by car, so she was touched when I said I would walk 5k for her.

‘I hope one day we can find a cure so no other family has to go through what we have been through.’

To sponsor the family, visit raceforlife.org, go to sponsor a friend and search for Alyson Slatcher.