Ellie tells us what it was like to diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma at 21 and how Weston Park Cancer Charity helped her family.
This is Ellie's story
When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, I’d never heard of it. I was 21 and 16 weeks pregnant. I’d been unwell and felt low for a while – my grandad had died, I’d had a miscarriage and then been hit with waves of illness and just this tiredness… I’d not even had a full diagnosis but I’d been going for tests and thought it might be cancer. It was confirmed.
Doctors were really eager to start treatment – my cancer was stage two and they knew that any delay would allow it to grow, so they talked to me about abortion. But I’d already lost a baby and there was no way I was doing that, so I decided to wait until after the baby was born to start chemotherapy. Connie was born in March 2020, just before the Covid lockdown – within days I was back in hospital starting treatment. Kieran – my partner – has been amazing.
Imagine being a new dad, with a newborn, while I was in hospital for days at a time having treatment? He couldn’t even ask for help, because of lockdown. I missed them so much, and it was awful for all of us. They thought I had Covid in hospital but I had stomach infections. It’s been hard! It was not the life I expected at 21, or what I expected as a new mum.
Even though I was treated at Hallamshire, Weston Park Cancer Charity helped. We lived in this horrible, damp flat, but didn’t have the money to move out. They gave us a hardship grant so we could afford the deposit on a house, and we moved just before Connie was born.
And I had the help of a social worker who was like a second mum to me. She supported Kieran too and even sent a card and present when Connie was born.
I would love to use my experience to help other young people with cancer. I need to do something because I feel like I’m known as ‘the girl who had cancer’ around here and I want to be something else.
It knocked my confidence to bits – friendships have been on and off, and the way I look has changed – people stare – I have really down days. I’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia which can leave me in real pain. I am hopeful though – you have to be!
When I was in my treatment, I’d have moments when I begged for it to end – it’s really, really tough. But I want anyone young, facing cancer, to trust their team. They work so hard to make it right, they want you to win – they pushed me through and I’m so glad they did. Don’t give up.
Ellie has shared her story as part of our Christmas Star Appeal in celebration of the care and support she received from Weston Park Cancer Charity. You can leave your Christmas message in celebration, hope or remembrance here.
Cancer changes everything. But this Christmas, so can you.
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