'She was my one-in-a-million soulmate': Cancer campaigner Nicky Newman's widower reveals how his 'world caved in' when she was diagnosed – and how they decided not to freeze her eggs because they would be parents 'together or not at all'

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:11 min(s) read

  • EXCLUSIVE: Nicky Newman’s husband, Alex, 37, has paid tribute to his late wife
  • Alex described her as his ‘one in a million soulmate’  and the two have 

A heartbroken husband has paid an emotional tribute to his cancer campaigning wife who inspired thousands by highlighting the illness that took her life at just 35.

Nicky Newman was known for her never be defeated catchphrase ‘Go grab life’ as she underlined the importance to make the most of every minute – despite being diagnosed with cancer five years ago.

Her devoted husband Alex, 37, was with her every step of the way and described her as his ‘one in a million soulmate’ in their loving relationship that started as teenage sweethearts.

Electrician Alex, who wears the engagement ring and eternity ring he gave Nicky on a chain around his neck, told MailOnline: ’She was amazing, I loved her so much and I still do, with all my heart.’

Nicky Newman's devoted husband Alex has paid tribute to his cancer campaigning wife who inspired thousands by highlighting the illness that took her life at just 35

Nicky Newman’s devoted husband Alex has paid tribute to his cancer campaigning wife who inspired thousands by highlighting the illness that took her life at just 35

Nicky's husband Alex shared the tragic news on Instagram with a pre-written post by his late wife

Nicky’s husband Alex shared the tragic news on Instagram with a pre-written post by his late wife

The two married in 2014 at Guildford registry office and a blackboard Nicky made has pride of place in the kitchen of their home

The two married in 2014 at Guildford registry office and a blackboard Nicky made has pride of place in the kitchen of their home

He continued: ‘After Nicky was diagnosed, we packed in so much together because we just wanted to have as much time together as we could, most people get 50 or 60 years with their partner – we had to cram all that into just five.

Eight most common signs of breast cancer

• A change in size or shape

• A lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast

• A change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)

• A redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple

• Your nipple has become pulled in or looks different, for example changed its position or shape

• Liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing

• Pain in your breast or your armpit that’s there all or almost all of the time

• A swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone

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‘There are so many wonderful memories I have of Nicky, it’s hard to just pick one out but what she did with her life and how she inspired others to take care of themselves and look out for each other was unbelievable.’

Alex described how he and Nicky nicknamed each other ‘lobster’ and ‘bean’ and met as teenagers in Guildford, Surrey, and apart from three years apart when they went to different universities have been together ever since.

He said: ’We first went out as kids, then we split up but in 2008 we bumped into each other in town and just clicked, it was as if we had never been apart.

‘I think we both knew we were meant to be together because we were always good friends and had great chemistry together, what differences we had balanced each other out.’

Alex revealed how he secretly saved for a diamond engagement ring which he presented with her on Christmas Day 2012 while the two were meant to buy building up a deposit for a house.

He said: ’That was one of the happiest days of my life, and I did it the proper way asking her dad first and then going down on one knee, she was so surprised, but she made me so happy when she said yes.’

In 2014 they married at Guildford registry office and a blackboard Nicky made has pride of place in the kitchen of their home.

Alex said he and Nicky nicknamed each other ¿lobster¿ and ¿bean¿ and met as teenagers in Guildford, Surrey

Alex said he and Nicky nicknamed each other ‘lobster’ and ‘bean’ and met as teenagers in Guildford, Surrey

On it is written Mr and Mrs Newman and it marks out the key dates of their relationship the first line read “27.07.08 when he stole her heart’, below is ’25.12.12 and popped the question’ with the last line says ’26.07.14 and she stole his last name’.

HOW YOU CAN HELP 

Supporters can donate to Future Dreams and The Willow Foundation and Woking Sam Beare Hospice. 

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But four years later, as the couple started thinking about a family with the help of IVF, came the devastating news Nicky had terminal cancer.

Alex said: ’Nicky was always very thorough with checking her breasts and one morning noticed a lump in the shower, we had done the first course of IVF and that hadn’t worked, and then she went for tests.

‘The day we found out it was secondary stage four cancer, we were all there, Nicky, her parents and myself and the world just caved in for all of us.

‘They said the cancer had spread to her hips, lower spine, shoulders and ribs and the prognosis was maybe five to ten years at the most.

‘It was such a shock for all of us, people say getting bad news like that is being hit by a train, but it was worse, everything we were hoping and planning for just collapsed around us.’

Nicky began her chemotherapy treatment at Guildford’s Royal Surrey Hospital, and it meant the couple’s long cherished hopes of a family were brutally ended by the diagnosis.

After receiving her diagnosis, Nicky made the decision to most of each moment she had left, coining the catchphrase 'grab life'

After receiving her diagnosis, Nicky made the decision to most of each moment she had left, coining the catchphrase ‘grab life’

Despite her own cancer being terminal, Nicky chose to build a platform to raise awareness, and educate others about the illness. In the process, her posts brought joy to hundreds of thousands of people

Despite her own cancer being terminal, Nicky chose to build a platform to raise awareness, and educate others about the illness. In the process, her posts brought joy to hundreds of thousands of people

Alex said:’ We discussed it and we both said there was no point going ahead as it would mean any child we had, would grow up without their mother and we didn’t want that.

‘We could have frozen Nicky’s eggs, but we came to the same conclusion we wanted to be parents together or not at all.’

Nicky endured gruelling rounds of oral chemotherapy and Alex blinked back tears as he said: ’She was one of the bravest people I’ve ever met in my life.

‘She would always have a smile on her face, even though she was going through the most terrible pain, and she was always strong for the rest of us.

‘We decided then to make the most of the time we had together and tick off as many things as we could do.

‘She loved Disneyland so we went to the one in Florida and Paris, we went to Spain, Jamaica and Norway for the Northern Lights which was magical.

‘She loved dancing and going out with friends and even up until a few weeks ago she was still out and about on the dancefloor, making sure everyone was having a good time.’

Despite the terrible plight she was going through and in a mark of her character and courage, Nicky documented her life through her Instagram page which has more than 300,000 followers.

She shared with them her journey through chemotherapy and her journeys with Alex, always with her inspirational motto ‘Go Grab Life’.

Alex was with her every step of the way and described her as his ¿one in a million soulmate¿ in their loving relationship that started as teenage sweethearts

Alex was with her every step of the way and described her as his ‘one in a million soulmate’ in their loving relationship that started as teenage sweethearts

The last video on her Instagram is a step by step guide of how to – as Nicky put it ‘check your tattas’ – in which she highlights signs to spot for cancer.

It ends with a simple message saying:’ Remember you are NOT ‘looking for cancer’ you are performing the greatest act of self-love getting to know your body and how to look after her – and that goes for men too.’

Nicky raised awareness for organisations like The Little Princess Trust, when she shaved her hair knowing the chemotherapy would make it fall out, and donated it to make a wig for a child suffering with cancer.

She also supported the magnificent work of charities such as The Willow Foundation and Future Dreams who both support cancer sufferers and their families.

But last month, she shared the news that they had been dreading and the cancer had spread to her liver, after a brief stay in hospital she was allowed home but days later she was admitted to the Sam Beare hospice in Woking where she died last Sunday.

Alex said: ’Once it had spread to her liver we knew it was going to be hard from there, the next course of treatment would mean even more pain, so she decided to stop it and make as much as she could with the time we had left.

‘We had two big family barbecues and a friend’s birthday and Nicky, who is the most organised person I knew also sorted out her funeral and how she wanted everything down to the finest detail.

‘She loved sunflowers and orange-coloured flowers and I’ve ordered some for her casket at her funeral.’

In her trademark upbeat and positive style, Nicky decided to shave her head after she started chemo and her hair started falling out, as she'd always known she wanted to donate it

In her trademark upbeat and positive style, Nicky decided to shave her head after she started chemo and her hair started falling out, as she’d always known she wanted to donate it

Through her videos and posts, Nicky was able to raise awareness about organisations that help people, as well as help educate on how to check your breasts

Through her videos and posts, Nicky was able to raise awareness about organisations that help people, as well as help educate on how to check your breasts

Breaking down again Alex said: ‘The hospice were great and I spent the last five nights there in the room with her. She was asleep most of the time but I spoke to her and I said I would always be there for her.

‘Nicky wanted to show people that yes it’s hard and yes its painful but you can still enjoy life, you have to, in spite of the pain.’

Her death was announced on her Instagram page – Nicknacklou – by Alex with a post Nicky had already written and so far it has received more than 250,000 likes.

Celebrities including Stacey Solomon have paid tribute with the TV host saying: ’Never has a star shone brighter. I’m so grateful to have known you. I promise to go grab Iife and make the most of every single second of every day.’

While Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden, who is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer, said: ’Nicky was the most beautiful ray of sunshine who did so much and created a community and legacy that will live on.’

Giovanna Fletcher, Vicky Pattison, Mrs Hinch and Julia Bradbury are among other stars who have paid tribute.

In the post announcing her death Nicky urged people to ‘cherish those around you and give your friends and loved ones the biggest squeezes.’

An emotional post shared by Nicky's husband Alex on Instagram, and written by Nicky before she died, shared news of her death

An emotional post shared by Nicky’s husband Alex on Instagram, and written by Nicky before she died, shared news of her death

Even in the post sharing news of her death, Nicky maintained a positive attitude and encouraged her followers to 'grab life'

Even in the post sharing news of her death, Nicky maintained a positive attitude and encouraged her followers to ‘grab life’

She added: ‘Go grab life. You never know what is coming around the corner – so don’t take anything for granted.’

The post started: ’If you’re reading this it means I have died, I made it 5 and half years though, not bad for a stage 4 beastie ey.

‘And none of this ‘she fought her battle nonsense’, I didn’t lose anything, the cancer took over and that’s okay, we all knew this would happen.

‘I don’t think we are ever prepared to hear the words, we think we are indestructible and a magic cure will appear, but the truth is we all live this life day to day (we just knew our days are shorter).’

Alex – who was called Mr G on Nicky’s Instagram because he looked like actor Ryan Gosling – added: ‘Nicky loved lightening and storms, she wanted to go hurricane chasing and even had a lightning bolt tattoo.

‘The night she died, there was a massive thunderstorm over the house, with so much lightening. I knew that was Nicky’s way of saying Go Grab Life and make it count.

‘What we want to do know as a family is make sure her legacy live son and we have some events planned to raise cancer awareness even more and we were working on them right until a few days before she died.

‘It’s important her message gets out there and we have had some many people get in touch to say they discovered they were ill after watching Nicky on Instagram and as she said ‘Check your tattas’ and that goes for blokes as well.’

Supporters can donate to Future Dreams and The Willow Foundation and Woking Sam Beare Hospice. 




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