A mother-of-two who bravely documented her cancer battle has been killed in a car crash on her first day back to work.
Caroline Nelson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in June and kept followers updated with her fight against the illness on Facebook.
Colleagues and students were ready to welcome her back to Parklands school in Helensburgh on Monday after she completed her final round of radiotherapy.
But as the 45-year-old was on her way back to work at as a special needs teacher, she was involved in a crash on the A818 in Argyll and Bute, and died at the scene.
Mother-of-two Caroline Nelson, right, was fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support and had been doing so since before her diagnosis
Ms Nelson wrote at the start of last month: ‘Treatment begins this week. Gonna kick cancer’s butt!!!’
The former Glasgow School of Art student was fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support and had been doing so since before her diagnosis.
Ms Nelson had recently moved to a new home with her sons, aged six and eight, after splitting from her husband of 11 years Sandy Nelson, an actor who played Chris the postie in Still Game and also appeared in Braveheart.
On June 23, she wrote: ‘I have cancer and I’m single again. Not sure which will shock you more!
‘I have been diagnosed with low grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Blood tests are good so I’m not a high risk at the moment. About to have a bone marrow biopsy.
‘This is not a post for sympathy (any sad face emojis will get a right telling off… I’m not dead yet) but my moods and emotions have been strange and will continue to be until I get to a better place with this, so forgive me.’
She added: ‘Send positive vibes, pray, whatever is your thing. Like my beloved art school I’ve been battered down. And from the flames the Phoenix will rise. Peace everyone. Love ya loads. Xx’
Ms Nelson was on her way back to work at as a special needs teacher, when she was involved in a crash on the A818 in Argyll and Bute, and died at the scene
Mr Nelson began radiotherapy treatment on September 6, and posted about it up until the final day of treatment on September 21.
On September 19 Ms Nelson wrote: ‘Yesterday was Radiotherapy day 9. All is good…I’m in a great place, I feel I’ve been very, very lucky.
‘Doc happy with how it is all going, not end of the journey yet, but with some more scans and tests it should be and it may also never end, I’m grateful for what I have.’
In a statement Ms Nelson’s family said: ‘Caroline’s family are devastated and appreciate all the help and support they have received over the past few days.’
Sergeant Paul MacPherson appealed for witnesses to the crash at 9.10am on Monday involving Caroline’s Vauxhall Meriva.
Sgt MacPherson said: ‘Although a number of people stopped to assist at the time, I am still keen to hear from anyone who may have either witnessed the crash or indeed who saw the cars on the road prior to it happening.
‘If you have any information that you think may assist our inquiries, then please contact us via 101.’
WHAT IS NON-HODGKIN LYMPHOMA?
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes.
It affects the lymph system, which is involved in fighting infections and helping fluid move through the body.
NHL can start anywhere where lymph tissue is found, such as lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, tonsils and the digestive tract. It differs from Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to the type of immune cells it affects.
NHL is one of the most common types of cancers in the US, making up four per cent of all forms of the disease. Around 74,200 Americans will be diagnosed with the condition this year, according to Cancer.Net.
And it is the sixth most common cancer in the UK, with 13,682 cases in 2015, Cancer Research UK statistics show.
NHL is grouped depending on how quickly it grows and spreads. Indolent NHL grows slowly and may not require treating straight away. Aggressive NHL spreads quickly and requires immediate treatment.
Regardless of how quickly it grows, all NHLs can spread to other parts of the lymph system if untreated. It can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or brain.
Anyone can develop NHL, however, most cases occur in people in their 60s or older. For unclear reasons, it is also more common in men.
Some studies have suggested that exposure to certain weedkillers and pesticides may increase the risk, as do chemotherapy drugs and some arthritis medications. More research is required to determine this.
Patients treated with radiotherapy for other cancers are slightly more at risk of NHL in later life. Those with a weak immune system, such as HIV patients or people who have recently had an organ transplant, are also more susceptible.
A family history of NHL and being overweight are also linked to the condition.
Although rare, some women with breast implants develop a type of lymphoma in their breasts, which seems to be more common if the implants have a rough texture.
NHL treatment depends on how advanced a patient’s disease is but might include chemo, radiotherapy, a stem cell transplant or, in rare cases, surgery.
Source: American Cancer Society