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Tributes paid to 'exceptional' Wolverhampton nurse, 35, who died following cancer battle

Friends and family have paid tribute to a courageous Wolverhampton nurse who vowed to live life to the full in the face of a lengthy cancer battle.

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Brogan with husband Gareth and daughter Freya

Brogan Williams, a staff nurse on ICCU and gynaecology at New Cross Hospital, died in October aged 35 after fighting metastasis breast cancer.

After being diagnosed in 2019 and having a double mastectomy, Brogan’s cancer returned, and she was given two weeks to live in 2021.

She told friends and family she was determined to make the most of her life, despite the diagnosis.

The mother-of-one, from Pendeford, was also a passionate campaigner for breast cancer awareness and raised £5,000 for the charity CoppaFeel after completing a 100km walk across Northumberland.

Before she died, Brogan’s colleagues at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust nominated her for an exceeding expectation award within the organisation which was presented to her family by Debra Hickman, chief nursing officer.

Debra said: “Brogan’s smile shone through every day in everything she did, even in the face of adversity. We felt very strongly that Brogan should have this award to mark her legacy to the trust and nursing profession.”

Sophie Lawley, surgical nurse practitioner, worked with Brogan on ICCU and gynaecology.

She said: “Brogan was an inspiration to anyone who had the pleasure of working with her. She was loved and respected dearly.

"As a co-worker, I have witnessed first-hand the incredible patient care she has provided over the years.”

Left to right: Debra Hickman, Ross Jones, Freya Williams, Lorraine Starkey, Lauren Jones, Sophie Lawley and Gerardine Hardisty

Brogan’s mother, Lorraine Starkey, received the award on behalf of her daughter.

She said: “Right up until her very last breath in my arms she was a fighter and touched everyone that met her.

“She fought many years for us all, especially for her eight-year-old daughter Freya, and left us with empty hearts but some wonderful memories.

“Brogan used to make light of every situation, she even called her wig Sandra and her drainage pipes Colin – that’s the type of person she was.”

Stacey Shepherd, ICCU sister, said: “Brogan was an exceptional nurse, who went above and beyond for her patients and colleagues alike.

"She was kind and caring to all that come in to contact with her. She was considerate and caring and an excellent role model to all.”

Brogan was a passionate campaigner and set up an Instagram account ‘Brogan.smashingsecondaries’ to encourage others to check for symptoms of breast cancer.

As part of her ongoing commitment, Brogan planned to trek around the Sahara Desert for CoppaFeel but due to the severity of her illness, she was unable to make it.

The group knitted a ‘mini-Brogan’ wearing a superhero cape and took this on the walk.

Brogan’s daughter Freya now takes this everywhere with her and it brings her comfort.

Her sister, Lauren Jones, is planning to set up a charity to make wigs using real hair for patients with breast cancer.