THE family of a well-loved and determined Skegby woman, who died on Saturday after a long illness, have paid tribute to her.
Laura Topliss (21) died at her Hazel Street home surrounded by her close family and yesterday, her mum Karen Bird, step-dad Jason Bird and sister Aimie Topliss remembered her as someone who lived life to the full.
Karen said: “Even when she was poorly, she would still ask to go to Alton Towers.
“We have taken her to Alton Towers, knowing she was poorly but she insisted on going and she insisted on going on all the rides.”
Laura had been born with bradycardia (a slow heart rate) and developed cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) when she was a baby.
She underwent heart transplants and later suffered kidney problems as a result of the medication she had to take.
But despite her condition, Laura was determined to make the most of every moment - and she loved the thrill of theme parks and driving, as well as shopping and spending time with her friends.
Karen says: “She loved going shopping and going for a drink when she felt like it. She always liked partying at home - she was a very popular girl.”
Laura, who went to Daneswood School and later Quarrydale in Sutton, also enjoyed going to McDonalds and was a regular Oddfellows pub in Sutton, where she often went for a carvery and was well-known to all the staff.
She also liked playing bingo several nights a week, particularly at Walker’s in Mansfield and would often go with her grandad.
Jason said: “He was her bingo partner. They would go to bingo every Sunday night.”
But most of all, Laura wanted to be around her family at home.
“She just loved us all,” said Karen. “She did not want hospitals in the end - she had had 21 years of them.”
Laura was also very close to her three-year-old neice Kaydie Turner and they spent a lot of time together. And recently, she had become the proud owner of a 14-week-old grey kitten called Izzy.
Last month, members of the community turned out for a charity football match at Quarrydale school to raise funds for Laura and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The event, which was featured in Chad, raised more than £1,500.
In her last weeks, Laura was able to attend Karen and Jason’s wedding and take a trip to Eden Hall Day Spa close to Newark.
Meanwhile, Laura’s family have praised staff at King’s Mill’s Robin Hood ward and Huthwaite Health Centre who knew her well and cared for her throughout her life.
Laura’s funeral is on Friday at St Andrew’s church in Skegby and as she requested, mourners are asked to wear bright colours instead of black.
As well as Karen, Jason, Aimie and Kaydie, Laura also leaves behind grandparents Ann and Peter Johnson, her aunt and uncle Angela and David Johnson and cousins Emily, Beth and Alistair.
Laura’s funeral will take place on Friday at St Andrew’s church at 12.30pm. Friends are also invited to Oddfellows pub on Mansfield Road in Sutton at 2.30pm and donations will be to Great Ormond Street Hospital.