Bid to continue new mum’s legacy of helping others with cancer after her passing

After a new mum lost a battle with cancer, a family has raised over £1,000 to ensure her legacy of helping others will continue in the future.

Emily Briston passed away aged 35 after being diagnosed with liver cancer following complications when giving birth to her 10 week premature son Samuel.

She enjoyed six months with son Samuel and husband Paul before passing away in April.

Emily Briston

Emily became an ambassador for Addenbrooke’s, taking part in DVDs aimed at supporting others with bladder cancer which she’d been diagnosed with aged just 27 in 2011.

After a 14-hour operation that took her a year to recover properly from, she was given the all clear from that and from kidney cancer discovered in 2014.

The legacy of those treatments led to Samuel being born two and a half months early.

But while he pulled through and is now a perfectly healthy 10-month-old, Emily was not recovering as expected.

It was then the family received the bombshell that cancer had been discovered in the liver and nothing could be done.

Husband Paul, who worked alongside Emily at Peterborough based finance company Dilligenta, said: “Emily’s pregnancy was quite difficult and she wasn’t well all through.

“Because she couldn’t fall pregnant naturally we had to go through IVF so luckily on the second attempt we managed to conceive Samuel.

“Even before the cancer diagnosis she had to go through emergency surgery as she had a perforated bowel when Samuel was only 23 weeks.

“She managed to keep Samuel inside her as there was a danger he could be born then, but at 30 weeks she wasn’t getting better.

“They thought it was best to deliver him then.” 

The family spent the first seven weeks living at the hospital with both Samuel and Emily in intensive care.

Further tests revealed the original cancer had moved into her liver. The prognosis was terminal and she died in April.

“Emily loved Samuel,” continued Paul who is giving up his job with Dilligenta to be a gardener so he can spend more time looking after their son. “She adored him.

“He was her hopes and dreams.

“What she wanted most in life was to be a mummy, but it was cruelly taken away I’m afraid.”
Mum Sue Cooling: “It was quite a difficult time but she remained quite upbeat about it all along.

“She went to St Bart’s in London for immunotherapy and tried chemotherapy to get as much time with Samuel as possible.”

“All the way through she never gave up,” Paul continued. “Even when medical staff were giving up on her, she didn’t.

“She was kind, thoughtful, straight-talking, brave and courageous.

“She had a fighting spirit that was second to none.

“Emily had a thirst for life but after going through so much, in the end it was just heart-breaking.

aul Briston with the now 10-month-old Samuel

“She worried about the cancer returning but lived her life, wanted a kid, loved her holidays.

“I remember her with such fondness and gratitude that she gave me a lovely son but I also feel a bit cheated that she got taken away far too soon.

“She was inspirational and she’s given me the courage to go on and make a good life for Samuel and look after him how I know Emily would want to.

Mum Sue added: “She had good values and was a wonderful daughter.

“She had strong opinions but a kindness that was always there and you could always rely on her.

“Values for Samuel have been laid down.

“We have to teach him to give as much to receive as that was Emily.

“Values for Samuel have been laid down.

“We have to teach him to give as much to receive as that was Emily.

“She would always think of others before herself, despite what she was going through.”

Dad Lester Pybus said: “She was incredibly kind and loved animals.

“She’s made a lovely little son but had been taken away too soon.”

The family hope that the DVDs she helped make to help bladder cancer patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Emily’s brother Tom Pybus set up a Just Giving page in order to do that and totalled with donations from her funeral, £1,324 has been raised so far for the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust to be spent in the Urology department.

“We’re grateful for all of the support we have received,” Sue said: “We’ve had fantastic support from Addenbrooke’s and Peterborough Hospital too where Emily passed away.

“Addenbrooke’s Bladder Cancer department called Emily their ‘pin-up girl’.”

To donate to the Just Giving page you can visit


Leave a Reply