Meet Chloe, diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, aged 14

Meet Chloe, diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, aged 14

My name is Chloe and I am now 18 years old. In August 2013, at the age of 14, I was diagnosed with stage 3a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Before my cancer diagnosis I was like many other 14 year olds – going to school and spending most of my time with family and friends. However, in July 2013 I found a number of large lumps in my neck. After seeing a nurse and being prescribed antibiotics for what they thought was just a “string of swollen glands”, the lumps never seemed to go down.

As my family became more and more concerned, my parents booked me another appointment at our doctor’s surgery. However, this time I saw a different nurse and their response to the lumps was totally different – I was soon referred to a doctor, and then to the ‘ears, nose and throat’ department at our local hospital. This is where I had a biopsy and a number of different scans and blood tests which confirmed our worst fears – that I had cancer.

In September that year I started my treatment at a specialist hospital in Sutton, named the ‘Royal Marsden’. I underwent four months of chemotherapy, and eleven sessions of radiotherapy. I lost all of my hair and suffered from a number of side effects including tiredness, pain and occasionally sickness. I found it very hard to come to terms with my new appearance, particularly because of the hair loss and weight gain that came with the steroids I had to take whilst on treatment. On Valentine’s Day in 2014, I was then told the amazing news that I was in remission and no further treatment was needed.

I continue to go for check-ups and chest x-ray’s at the Royal Marsden every few months. This is where I came across one of Teens Unite’s leaflets. I took a leaflet home and read about all of the exciting events and opportunities they provide for young people with cancer and decided to sign up. I can honestly say this was one of the best decisions I have ever made! After signing up to Teens Unite, I received a call and was soon invited to all of the fantastic outings they had coming up.

Ever since then I have attended so many amazing events - from theatre trips, beauty days, and mother’s day teas, to residential stays and outdoor cinema nights, to name just a few! Teens Unite have provided me with so much support and opportunities to meet others in similar situations – creating life-long friendships, and not only have they supported me but they’ve supported my family too by holding events like siblings days. They’re like a second family to me and I cannot thank them enough!

At the moment I’m still doing well and am back to good health. I am now studying Social Work at university and hope to become a social worker supporting children and young people with cancer.

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