In her mid twenties, with everything going for her, Sophie Rowley felt and looked fine.

But unbeknown to the mum-of-two, an incurable brain tumour was growing inside her head.

Sophie Rowley, 25, from Denton Holme, Carlisle, only found out about it because she started suffering from double vision.

After numerous scans and tests, she was given the devastating news - doctors had found a cancerous tumour around her brain stem. Because of its position, surgery was out of the question.

Sophie instead underwent intensive radiotherapy. To date, this treatment has been successful, but she has also been told she has roughly just five years to live.

This news was a huge blow, and one that initially was hard to accept. She kept thinking of her children - Keira Green, aged eight, and Jasmine Green, five.

“I never expected that I would leave my kids without a mum at such a young age,” she said.

But instead of letting it get her down, Sophie is looking at the positives - focusing on the time she has left, and making every single day of it count.

Together with her daughters and fiancé Lee Brown, who she plans to marry later this year, she has drawn up a bucket list and is determined to make memories that they will cherish forever.

To help pay for it, she has set up a fundraising page, which has already generated more than £3,000 for once in a lifetime experiences.

She also attends the Eden Valley day hospice - where she previously volunteered - once a week, getting vital support from others who are battling cancer.

Sophie explained how she found out about the tumour.

“I started with double vision in March last year. I ended up googling it. You know you’re not supposed to, but you just do.

“It came up with the options and one was brain tumour and to be honest I’d half convinced myself that was what it was.

“But I looked so well nobody thought there was anything wrong. I didn’t look ill at all.”

Sophie initially went to the optician to see if she needed glasses, but they didn’t spot the tumour. The GP then referred her to ophthalmology, however while she was waiting for an appointment, her symptoms worsened.

She ended up being sent for an urgent MRI scan, which picked up that something was wrong. Doctors thought it could be multiple sclerosis but after many more scans and tests, they confirmed the devastating news.

She was told it was a type of cancer called astrocytoma, and that it was caused by a mutation gene more common in children.

“I went from a grade two to a grade four, then I was referred to the specialist centre at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. Doctors say I have roughly five years left to live. This was not the news we were all hoping for. We were not prepared for it,” she said.

At its worst, Sophie was finding it difficult to keep her balance and walk in a straight line, meaning she had to use a wheelchair.

But following an intensive six-week course of radiotherapy in Newcastle, which has blasted the tumour, she is now feeling well and ready to tick some more items off her bucket list.

“I started radiotherapy in August. They also gave me some chemo but it made me really poorly, so I had to stop it,” said Sophie.

“I went back for a scan a few weeks ago. That showed that it hasn’t grown again, so that’s really good news. I now go back for scans every three months.”

As a result of the tumour, she has developed sixth nerve palsy - a complication that affects her eyes, causing the double vision.

To help counteract it, she wears special prism glasses, which appear hazy on one side.

Aside from that she is managing without a wheelchair, thanks to the radiotherapy blitzing the tumour - situated at the back of her head, at the top of the neck.

Sophie knows the treatment won’t last forever, and she’ll need more treatment in future, but she isn’t dwelling on that.

Instead she is enjoying feeling well enough to be able to enjoy life with her family.

“I feel great. I’m just determined to live life to the full,” she said.

“Too many people take life for granted. They waste time. It’s only when something like this happens that you realise how important life is.

“My message is what are you waiting for? Seize the moment. I’ve got cancer, but nobody knows what’s round the corner.”

Sophie is also full of praise for the Eden Valley Hospice in Carlisle, where she attends the day hospice every Tuesday.

“It’s strange that I used to be a volunteer there. My mum is transport coordinator at the hospice, so I started volunteering at the day hospice,” she explained.

“I did that for about a year before I was diagnosed. Now I come every week as a patient.”

She wants to change people’s perceptions of the hospice, and encourage more younger people to come along to the sessions.

“It’s such a brilliant place. I love coming,” said Sophie.

“People think it will be morbid, that everyone is dying. It’s really not like that.

“The people are lovely and there’s lots to do. It has made a huge difference to me.

“When I was going to Newcastle for radiotherapy every day, I had something to focus on. When that stopped I felt a bit lost.

“But now I go to the day hospice every week. It gives me something to look forward to.”

Sophie has made some close friends through the hospice, and wants others in her age bracket to know support is out there.

“There are quite a few younger people who go on a Tuesday. I’m the youngest, but I can’t be the only 25-year-old with cancer in Carlisle,” she said.

She said the sessions are different every week but she enjoys taking part in quizzes, crafts and generally just chatting to people in a similar situation.

“It’s great from a social perspective, but there is also a doctor there every week and nursing staff, who I can speak to if I’ve got any health issues,” she added.

Sophie said the hospice also provides support to her family, including her daughters.

“They are coming in next month to make kiss cards, where I put lipstick on and kiss cards that they then laminate. That way they’ve always got my kisses. It’s little things like that which mean a lot,” she said.

n In tomorrow’s News & Star: Meet Sophie’s fellow day hospice patients and the team providing them with vital support.