Vicki Aldwin of Oakwood had been in remission from ovarian cancer after being diagnosed last October, but has now been told it has returned and her condition is terminal.
Her devastated friends have launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £10,000 to fulfil her bucket list wishes, which include a trip to Japan.
Former Park Lane College student Vicki, who is assistant manager at the Mustard Pot pub in Chapel Allerton, was told her cancer is terminal by doctors at St James’s Hospital in Leeds on Monday August 13.
She said: “I was with my parents and that was the hardest part, watching their reaction. I think it’s harder for everyone else rather than myself.
“The kind of cancer that I had usually comes back and if it does the chances of survival are slim, so I had mentally prepared myself for that.
“But I still went in there thinking we were just going to be talking about a new treatment plan.
“I didn’t think I would be talking about how many months were left so it was a shock.”
Vicki, who grew up in Whinmoor, said she will be undergoing chemotherapy at St James’s Hospital from next week until December in a bid to prolong her life.
She said: “After that there’s nothing they can do for me.”
Vicki was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last October and underwent six months of chemotherapy before going into remission in May.
She said: “The support has been amazing, even when I first got diagnosed. Everyone rallied round and it has been the same since.
“I have got a good group of friends and family in Leeds. It is a little bit overwhelming how lovely everyone is.”
Vicki has worked at the Mustard Pot for 18 months and was previously general manager at the former Whites cafe bar in Headingley.
She also worked at the former Hummingbird restaurant in Chapel Allerton.
Best friend Katy Winship, 32, of Woodlesford, has known Vicki since they were 14-year-old pupils at Abbey Grange High school in West Park.
She launched the bucket list appeal online last Wednesday August 15 and it has already raised more than £6,000.
Katy said: “We have got to make what little time she has got left as nice as possible for her.”
She said Vicki’s bucket list wishes so far include a trip to Japan, Disney World, a trip to a film set, crushing grapes with her feet to make wine, and going on a taxidermy course.
Katy is appealing for suggestions to add to the list and for support and contacts to help ensure all Vicki’s wishes are fulfilled.
Katy said: “She is my best friend in the whole world. It’s just not fair because she is so young.
“I just want it to be a happy time for her. It’s awful, but we have got to be practical.”
Nicola Storey, manager at the Mustard Pot pub, said: “Vicki is the strongest person I know. I am truly heartbroken for her.
“She is not only the greatest person to work with but a great friend as well.
“She is really caring, friendly, lovely, honest, genuine and kind. She is really dedicated and hardworking.
“There is so much love for her from friends and family and everyone she has served over the years. So many people really care about her.”
Matt Tamplin, 40, set up Chapel Allerton community group Cara and has known Vicki for around seven years through her work in the hospitality industry in North Leeds.
He said: “It is just devastating, she is only 32-years-old. To be told you have got terminal cancer at any age is a horrific thing to have to cope with, but when you are young and looking to the future I can’t really comprehend it.
“I love that her close friends are spearheading this campaign for the bucket list collection. I think that’s a fantastic idea.
“I know Vicki loves the Chapel Allerton community so it is fantastic to see the community show their support and back this appeal.”
To contribute to the appeal, go to www.gofundme.com/vicki039s-bucket-list
Anyone with additional bucket list ideas or who can help Vicki’s friends fulfil her wishes can contact Katy Winship via email at [email protected]