I’m fighting fit and will Stand Up To Cancer

Stand up to cancer original

Shiela Laramore, 33, remembers vividly on 23 September last year after tests on a lump on her neck revealed she was fighting Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. But now she's urging Scots to unite with some of the brightest stars from TV, film and radio and Stand Up to Cancer this autumn. 

14th September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Nobody should have to worry about not seeing their children grow up.

When I first learned I had cancer I just sat there thinking, 'that's it. I'm going to die.'  It was very hard to take in and a big shock. I kept thinking, 'Am I going to live to see my baby become a little boy and grow up?

But I got through cancer and I know research saves lives. That's why I'm giving my heartfelt support to join the rebellion. Stand Up To Cancer raises money to speed up more effective treatments for people who really need it. Harry is my gorgeous, precious little boy and I'll do everything I can to be the best possible mum for him. If I can make a difference and help others along the way then I'll do it.

I was offered a round of IVF to freeze eggs or embryos but I declined. I felt truly lucky to have my little boy. He's perfect. I had to put him first and felt that to give myself the best possible chance of being around to be his mum, I had to start treatment immediately.

The development of drugs that help make chemotherapy side effects more bearable was vitally important to me. It meant I could still have days where the treatment effects were manageable and I could enjoy time with my little boy. Don't get me wrong, there were days when I couldn't get out of bed and that was tough, but the medication I was given to manage the sickness and fatigue really helped.

It also helped me to keep working. I'd returned to work from maternity leave in July last year, two months before I was diagnosed. I found that keeping going with work and maintaining some degree of normality was good as it gave me something to focus on.

I had to give myself the best possible chance of being around

I felt really lucky that Harry's first Christmas fell during a break from treatment. I was starting to recover a bit from the chemotherapy and had a few weeks off before the radiotherapy started. At Christmas and for Harry's birthday we had a small, family gathering.

I know it may sound strange but I feel incredibly lucky that I wasn't diagnosed with cancer before Harry was born because I'd have been worried for the entire pregnancy.

Instead I got to focus on enjoying being pregnant with my little boy and then having those wonderful first few months with him before I got the awful news about cancer.

My cancer was caught in the early stages which means it was easier to treat. But I'd urge anyone who notices anything out of the ordinary or different about their body that is worrying them to go along to the doctor and get it checked out.

l  Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised more than £38 million to fund more than 40 clinical trials and research projects.