Worthing mum whose cancer was masked by pregnancy raises more than £5,700 for Blood Cancer UK to help fund research
A Worthing mum whose cancer was masked by pregnancy is fighting back and raising money for research in the process.
Jemma Thrower, 25, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma in April, as a new mum with a baby daughter.
She said it came a year and a half after being treated for sciatic hip pain and nothing could have prepared her for such a diagnosis. At the time, the news struck her to her core.
Her pain began eight weeks into her pregnancy but many other symptoms of her blood cancer were masked due to her condition. It was not until abdominal pain developed and she visited the doctors for a blood test in March that the truth came to light.
A week in hospital, several scans and two biopsies later, the diagnosis was given, and Jemma’s eight-month course of chemotherapy began.
Jemma said: “Hearing the word cancer, my heart dropped to my stomach and I thought immediately of my daughter and what that meant for my family.
“But after researching the disease on Blood Cancer UK’s website, it became apparent that many people survived this form of cancer and that my life didn’t have to stop, not forever anyway.”
Jemma said it was thanks to the research Blood Cancer UK has completed over the past 60 years that she and others like her are able to undergo treatment to cure the disease.
She added: “I, along with several thousand others, don’t have to fear for my life. Instead I’m able to look cancer in the eye.”
To raise money for the charity, she organised a head shave, Jemma’s Hodgkins Lymphoma Made Us Do It, on Saturday. She would have her 14in of ‘luscious locks’ cut off and her father David Leigh, 57, and brother Samuel Leigh, 28, would be shaved alongside her. On the day, their friend Daniel Stanley, 28, also decided to join the trio for the haircut.
So far, they have raised more than £5,700, which will be invested in research into blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, as well as patient support services for those affected by the disease.
Blood Cancer UK said it was ‘an amazing thing to do’ and congratulated the quartet on the fantastic amount of money they have raised.
For more information and to make a donation, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/jemma-thrower8