A heroic NHS doctor who worked on the frontline of the coronavirus response has died of cancer aged 40.
Dr Jessi Tucker received a devastating call from her doctor on the first day of the Covid-19 lockdown last March, telling her the lump on the top of her thigh was skin cancer.
Just moments earlier, the emergency department doctor from Bristol had been speaking to HR, asking to work more hours as the pandemic began to spiral.
After months of treatment, Jessi’s condition recently worsened and she died surrounded by family on Friday night, said her close friend Caroline Walker.
Caroline described her as an ‘A&E doctor, writer and poet, with a giant heart and a beautiful soul’.
She raised more than £23,000 for Jessi’s treatment, with leftover funds going to the late doctor’s favourite charities.
Writing on the GoFundMe page, Caroline said: ‘I am sorry to share with you some very sad news in this update.
‘Jessi’s condition deteriorated quite quickly in recent weeks and days. And last night, in the comfort of St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol, she passed away. She was with her family and at peace.
‘Your beautiful words of support and generous donations meant so much to Jessi and her family over the past few months.
‘Jessi wanted you to know that any outstanding funds from this fundraiser will be distributed amongst a small selection of her chosen charities, supporting those causes she held closest to her heart – healthcare, animals and nature.
‘On a personal note, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support for my dear friend, a special soul who touched more lives than we will ever know.’
Despite undergoing intense immunotherapy, Jessi’s health worsened at the turn of the year as her initial stage three melanoma spread to her lungs.
Doctors said unless she started a new course of dual immunotherapy, she could have just nine months to live.
To make matters worse, Jessi stopped receiving sick pay from work because she had used up all her paid NHS leave while undergoing cancer treatment.
She told the Bristol Post about the shattering moment she heard that she had stage three melanoma.
Jessi said: ‘It felt like the ground fell away from me, everything went very still. It was very surreal like stepping into a nightmare.
‘After the phone call ended, I howled. I have never made that sound before. My body jittered. I paced. I swore. I cried.’
Her brother Lewis paid tribute to his ‘mercurial, cheeky, opinionated and beautiful’ sister.
Lewis said: ‘One of her dear friends said this to me yesterday: “Maybe she had just loved and been loved so much, she is now needed somewhere else.”
‘It’s something I have taken great comfort in.’
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