FOR almost six months, Stephanie Dickson suffered from a sore neck, severe headaches and dizziness.
Despite the fact she had a gut feeling something was wrong, doctors told the 24-year-old 14 times it was just migraines and, on some occasions, tension headaches.
Tragically, in April 2013, the “happy, fit and intelligent” office worker died in her sleep due to an undiagnosed brain tumour.
Stephanie, a former pupil of Leith Academy, had visited A&E just hours before her shock death and was sent home with a “migraine”.
And according to doctors, if she had been given the correct treatment up until the night she died, she would have had a 98 per cent chance of survival.
Her best friend Laura Aberdour, has spoken out about the devastating time her friends and family have been through, and is encouraging other young woman to never to back down if they think something is wrong.
The mum-of-one is in the process of planning her first fundraising event in memory of her friend.
Laura explained: “We have all been left broken by what’s happened. It’s truly devastating.
“It’s taken me until now to be strong enough to talk about it because it should never have happened.
“She was only 24.”
Laura befriended Stephanie, known to most as ‘Steph’, at high school.
When she was 14, Stephanie transferred to Leith Academy from Drummond High and Laura, 27, was assigned as her buddy.
Shedding a tear as she reflected on the past, Laura told of how they bonded instantly.
She said: “Steph had so much energy, she was always laughing and smiling, and she loved socialising.
“She had just bought her first flat and had everything going for her when she passed away.
“She was one of those girls everyone wanted to be like. She was amazing.
“For a while she had been complaining of a sore head, but I was only 23 at the time. I wasn’t too concerned.
“I guess when you’re young you think you’re invincible – I never even thought about anything as serious as a brain tumour.
“But I do remember going to the gym with her one day, and she suggested then she might have a brain tumour.
“I remember saying to her ‘oh, don’t say that’ but I do think she knew all along something wasn’t quite right. She persistently went to the doctors.”
Laura added: “Steph was so fit and she had an amazing figure. It’s just so tragic. She had her full life ahead of her.”
In a bid to raise awareness of brain tumours, Laura and a group of Stephanie’s friends have organised a charity event to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity.
The organisation funds pioneering research to increase survival, raise awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours.
It also provides support for those affected by the condition and aims to improve their quality of life.
Laura said: “The aim of the Ladies Day is to keep Steph alive and fight for her.
“We need to do all we can to raise awareness of brain tumours and to get the message out there that if someone thinks they have one, don’t back down. If you’re not well, please get checked out.
“We put faith in medical professionals but nobody took Steph seriously when she thought something was wrong.
“She didn’t need to die. Up until the night before she died, she had a 98% chance of survival.”
Laura’s Ladies Day fundraiser will take place on Saturday March 18 in Portobello at the Beach Lane Social Club.
The day will consist of games and it will be an opportunity for Stephanie’s friends to get together and reminisce their happy times with her.
Geraldine Pipping, director of fundraising at The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We receive no government funding and rely 100% on voluntary donations and gifts in Wills.
“It’s only through the efforts of people such as Stephanie’s family, friends and everyone tirelessly fundraising in her memory, that we can work towards our twin goals of doubling survival and halving the harm caused by brain tumours.
“Every penny they raise will be committed to finding a cure for this devastating disease.
“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and people under 40 in the UK and survival rates have not improved significantly over the last 40 years. This must change.”
Tickets for the fundraiser cost £5, and money can be donated to Stephanie’s JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Laura-Aberdour1