Teenage cancer survivor from Redruth supports specialist unit appeal

Teenage cancer survivor from Redruth supports specialist unit appeal

Teenage cancer survivor from Redruth supports specialist unit appeal

First published in News

Young cancer survivor, Sophie Pearn, from Redruth, is lending her support to a Teenage Cancer Trust South West fundraising appeal.

The charity is building the first specialist cancer unit for 16-24 year olds in the South West at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.

Due to open in spring 2014, the £2.5million unit will allow young people from Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, to be treated for the first time with others their own age in an environment suited to their needs.

The charity is also investing in specialist services across the South West which includes Cornwall. Teenage Cancer Trust has adopted teenage and young adult specialist nurses across the South West, including a nurse at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Sophie, 20, from Redruth, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was 19. She first noticed something might be wrong when she started feeling really run down and tired. At first she thought it was nothing to worry about as most teenagers feel tired but when she found a swelling under her right arm she thought it would be best to visit her local doctor’s surgery.

At first the doctor’s thought Sophie had an infection from shaving under her arm, especially since blood tests had come back normal.

Various visits to her GP and numerous antibiotics later which weren’t making a difference, Sophie was finally sent for an ultrasound scan and then CT scan. It was then that Sophie was given the news that she had stage three Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Sophie said: “I was in complete shock, I didn’t quite believe what was happening, and everything seemed to feel like a movie. Eventually when the news sank in, I shed some tears with my family, mostly of fear. After that it was onwards and upwards, I was ready to fight this horrible disease, and try to laugh, and be as positive as I could be. With amazing friends and family around me that wasn’t hard.”

Sophie immediately started six months of chemotherapy at Royal Cornwall Hospital. The chemotherapy caused some bad side effects such as extreme pain, insomnia, sickness, headaches and tiredness.

Sophie says the hospital was absolutely fantastic in looking after her and the staff were incredibly helpful and friendly. However the only downfall was Sophie didn’t meet any other people of a similar age going through cancer as she wasn’t treated on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit. Sophie did though have access to other services Teenage Cancer Trust offers in Cornwall and across the UK.

Sophie is now supporting Teenage Cancer Trust’s South West Appeal. The charity is building the first specialist cancer unit for 16-24 year olds in the South West at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre. Due to open in spring 2014, the £2.5million unit will allow young people from Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, to be treated for the first time with others their own age in an environment suited to their needs.

The Teenage Cancer Trust unit will have two floors, with one floor dedicated to inpatients featuring five en-suite rooms, a social area full of gaming and entertainment equipment, quiet room, TV room, kitchen and dining space. The other floor will be for day patients, featuring three treatment pods, two consulting rooms, a procedure room, social space, waiting area with cafe and staff office.

As well as the state-of-the-art ward, Teenage Cancer Trust is investing in specialist services across the South West which includes Cornwall. So far, Teenage Cancer Trust has adopted teenage and young adult specialist nurses across the South West, including a nurse at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. By doing so this provides an excellent model of care for young people no matter where they live in the region.

Sophie finished treatment in February 2013 and is now at university studying Creative Event Management.

For more information on the Teenage Cancer Trust South West Appeal visit www.teenagecancertrust.org/southwest For fundraising information email katie.crossey@teenagecancertrust.org or call 07507 600286.

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