Not all heroes wear capes – in fact some of them wear nurses’ uniforms.
And that’s what Billingham mum Lisa Tomlinson feels comfortable in as she goes
about her daily job caring for patients as a nursing associate at North Tees Hospital
But beneath her scrubs lies an inspirational spirit that just will not be quashed and
her drive to give as much back to help others as she can has earned Lisa a Teesside
Hero Award from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.
Lisa, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2006 at the age of just 31, has
single-handedly raised thousands of pounds for a whole host of Teesside charities
since being given just a 50/50 chance of survival all those years ago.
She has also spent the past decade fiercely lobbying parliament to reduce the age
for women to be able to access cervical screening programmes, with her latest
petition receiving more than 100,000 signatures.
More than that, though, says her fiancé Colin Cowie, she has a zest for life and an
ambition to live it to the full after going through gruelling treatment to beat cancer not
once, but twice.
She’s now studying for a nursing degree and is set to achieve her ambition and
graduate in 2020 – when she and Colin will also tie the knot.
Lisa was presented with her award by Dave Nicholson of Philanthropic Foundation
patrons, the Nicholson Group, in front of the Accident and Emergency Department at
North Tees Hospital, where she is currently working on placement.
“I don’t feel as if I am worthy of the title,” said Lisa. “There are so many people who
do so many amazing things out there on Teesside, I’m just a little person getting on
with my life.
“I didn’t know anything about it at all – but it seems all the staff in A&E knew before I
It was Colin who nominated Lisa for the award. “She always said she would pay the
people back who helped her and she continues to fundraise every week for all kinds
of charities,” he said.
Her cancer came back in 2015, this time in her appendix, but the tumour was
removed and she was back at work two weeks later. A scare two years ago saw part
of her liver removed, but thankfully tests proved a growth was benign.
“I have never known somebody as energetic and as positive as Lisa and when her
friends described her as an inspiration, I couldn’t agree more,” said Colin.
“Lisa has adopted my daughter Freya, who has Down’s Syndrome, as her own and
it’s so lovely to see Freya grow and turn into the young lady Lisa has helped her to
become. Freya has a mummy in her life and Lisa has the daughter she’s always
“Lisa’s motto, Llive for today’, rings in my head and everyone else’s when we see
how far she has come these last 10 years. Lisa still fundraises every week and often
raises funds towards patient care in her hospital.
“She always thinks of others, never herself. Her energy, enthusiasm and passion for
life is phenomenal and we couldn’t imagine life without her.”
The Teesside Hero Award comes with a £1,000 grant which Teesside Philanthropic
Foundation will send to a charity of Lisa’s choice.
She has opted to give it to the Teesside Family Foundation which supports people
across the area with all kinds of valuable initiatives.