Tragedy of St Albans girl's life cut short at 21

PUBLISHED: 12:55 03 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 06 May 2010

Laura celebrates her 21st birthday last year

Laura celebrates her 21st birthday last year

BRAVE Laura Griffiths, who had been ill since she was a baby, lost her battle for life shortly before her 22nd birthday. Laura, who lived in a flat in St Peter s Street, St Albans, with her partner Ben Hemmens, suffered three heart attacks at Watford Gene

BRAVE Laura Griffiths, who had been ill since she was a baby, lost her battle for life shortly before her 22nd birthday.

Laura, who lived in a flat in St Peter's Street, St Albans, with her partner Ben Hemmens, suffered three heart attacks at Watford General Hospital on September 16.

Her devastated parents Dennis and Rosalyn Griffiths, who live in Hill Street, St Albans, were at her bedside with Ben and her sister Kelly, 24, during her final hours.

Laura was born with a condition called multiple duodenal atresia which meant she had intestinal blockages leaving her unable to digest food.

She had 17 operations to try and clear the recurrent blockages but often had to be drip-fed through a tube in her stomach to keep her weight up.

Her father Dennis, who ran the pub The Harrow - now Mokoko - in Verulam Road for 10 years until he retired four years ago, said: "We got a call to say Laura was in Watford General again with tummy pains but we were so used to this we weren't prepared for what happened. She had a heart attack before we got there and suffered two more once we'd gotten there."

Her mum Rosalyn, 59, said: "We always thought we'd lose her as a result of the major ops she had but we weren't expecting this. It was a terrible shock. The only comfort I have is that at least she won't suffer any more. She was such a lovable girl who fought so hard to live a normal life and be like everyone else but it was a struggle even though she never complained and was rarely miserable."

Laura, who was only 4ft 10ins, went down to three stone last year and had to be hospitalised to bring her weight back up to around five and a half stone.

She was advised by doctors she needed multiple organ transplants to enable her to have any quality of life.

A former pupil of Townsend School in High Oaks, Laura received a Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award for her outstanding contribution to school life.

Rosalyn added: "She didn't spend as much time at school as she would have liked because half her life was spent either in Great Ormond Street Hospital or receiving home schooling."

She also worked as an assistant manager at Ladbroke's betting shop in Marshalswick for the last year of her life.

Laura's funeral was due to be held at 11am today (Thursday) at St Michael's Church in St Albans, followed by cremation at Garston. Her family has requested donations for Great Ormond Street Hospital instead of flowers.

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