Molly's family visited Ben's Retreat in June 2023.
In March 2020 we had gone into lock down, Molly was 16 in the February and missed her GCSE's, it was a difficult time for everyone and was going to become even more so for us.
She got up one Saturday morning in July and had large, squash ball sized lumps on both sides of her neck, Molly was upset, as I was now nearly 2 years in remission from stage 4 Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma, I presented with a similar lump in 2018, I assured her it was probably related to Covid, as the whole world was still learning about this new virus and no way it could be Cancer, how wrong was I!
We managed to get a video consultation on the Monday morning, the Dr was quite calm and relaxed and advised it was unlikely to be Cancer as it was unusual for 2 members from same family to have this, but as a precaution would arrange an emergency (2 week) ultrasound. Molly seemed more at ease, and we waited for the appointment, and waited! Myself and Mollys Dad, Steve had weeks of sleepless nights thinking "no way can we go thru this again"
Unfortunately, due to an admin error at the surgery, her appointment was NOT requested as an emergency, but a 6 week appointment, she finally got her ultrasound in August!
2 days after her scan Molly was due to start Sixth Form so we went shopping for equipment & stationary and a nice lunch, she was so excited to be returning to see her school friends and get back to normal. That day I took a call from the Surgery to advise that they were concerned at the results and she would be referred to Leicester Royal Infirmary Haematologist Dr Bhuller as no services were available at our local Kettering General Hospital.
It just became a crazy 2 weeks of lots of appointments, bloods, ultrasounds, MRI's, and PET scans. She was so brave, I was in absolute awe as inside Steve & I were absolutely petrified!
On 25th September 2020, 2 years to the day I was put in remission, Molly was diagnosed with Stage 3 Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin Lymphoma, how could this be happening to our family once again ? we were devastated.
For me all I could think of her losing her hair, the pain from the treatment and how poorly she was going to be, it felt so unfair, I was angry and bitter inside!
Molly took part in the EuroNet Paediatric Hodgkin Lymphoma C2 Trial, she started her first of 2 cycles of OEPA on 6th Oct and then 2 cycles of COPDAC.
I don't need to go into graphic detail of how poorly she was, in 5 months we spent MANY nights in hospital between Leicester & Northampton, she gained so much weight, lost her hair and lost precious time with family & friends. Thankfully no radiotherapy was needed and Molly was given the all clear in February 2021.
Molly is well and had to take an extra year at Sixth Form to make up for her 6 months off, physically she's ok, mentally it will take much longer for her to recover, but as a family we are both thankful to our amazing NHS and the fact we can share our story.
We are so grateful to Tom and the wonderful Ben Saunders Foundation for allowing us to enjoy some time together, thank you