A devastating blow was dealt to a young mum who discovered that her ‘pregnant belly’ was, unfortunately, a symptom of cancer. Fiona Gallacher, 33, experienced severe abdominal pains for two months before she was diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma – a type of cancer that develops in the glands of essential organs.

Gallacher, a mother of four from Holytown in North Lanarkshire, initially thought she was expecting another child. She experienced nausea and a distended abdomen but a pregnancy test confirmed this was not the case. Consequently, she sought help at A&E, where doctors quickly recognised that something was seriously wrong. Gallacher underwent emergency surgery to remove sections of her bowels and ovary.

Days later, tests confirmed she had advanced cancer. Doctors projected her life expectancy to be between six months to a year. She tragically passed away on March 22, a few weeks post-diagnosis.

Her distraught sister, Kellyann, 37, retold the heartbreaking experience: “Fiona started with severe abdominal pains but thought she was just unwell. Her stomach swelled suddenly and she was unable to hold down any food. We initially thought it was pregnancy due to her symptoms. However, we knew something wasn’t right and therefore, she opted for a trip to A&E. They discovered fluid in her abdominal region that necessitated emergency surgery, during which they had to remove an ovary and part of her bowels. A few days later, we learned that she was suffering from cancer and didn’t have long left to live. The news was a shock to us all, it felt like an unreal nightmare.”

Fiona, left, with sister Kellyann
Fiona, left, with sister Kellyann
(Image: Supplied)

Fiona leaves behind her four children: Graham Hastie, 16, Kevin Hastie, 15, Emmaleigh Goldie, seven, and Charlie-May Mcfarlane, three. Her other sister, Sarahann, has now moved into their family home to care for them.

In a poignant tribute, Kellyann extolled her sister’s virtues: “Fiona was an extraordinarily selfless and brilliant mum, who always put her kids first. She had a remarkable sense of humour that could light up a room. Right through to the end, she maintained her spirit and humor. She had a heart of gold and would go out of her way for anyone. No matter what life threw at her, she would always strive to overcome. Our sister was a true force of inspiration, and her absence will be deeply felt.”

The family has made Fiona’s story public in the hopes of raising awareness about the symptoms of adenocarcinoma. Kellyann has appealed to those experiencing similar symptoms to visit their GP for a check-up.

“We tend to dismiss our symptoms, assuming that serious health conditions will not befall us,” she said. “It’s not worth the risk. I counsel anyone with abnormal stomach pains not to hesitate in getting a check-up. It’s critical not to procrastinate – visit a health professional as soon as you can.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist with funeral expenses, as well as fund a memorable activity for Fiona’s children on her funeral day, ensuring their memories of their mum’s ‘fun spirit’ are celebrated.

“Fiona had expressed her wish that on her funeral day, she wanted the kids to have a fun activity after the funeral. We are considering taking them to ‘Flip Out’ for a couple of hours, so they remember their mum for her spirited and fun-loving nature,” Kellyann shared.

You can donate to the family’s fundraiser here.

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