She shares her story to help raise awareness and give hope to other patients.

A few months before I was diagnosed, I started to suffer with aches and pains in my leg. After a while I developed a limp, so my mum took me to see the GP. We were told that I was suffering from growing pains.

The pain continued to worsen, and my leg started to give way. My mum took me back to the GP again, who told us it could be torn ligaments. My mum knew there was something seriously wrong and demanded I had an x-ray.

I went to my local hospital in Ilkeston the next day and had an x-ray of my leg, but only from one angle. The x-ray looked clear, and it was decided to put my leg in plaster for six weeks to treat the torn ligaments. I was in the plaster room, on the table, waiting to have my cast fitted when the radiologist came in the room and said they thought they could see something. I was told I needed another x-ray.

This time, the x-ray was taken from the side with my leg bent.

We were told there was a tumour in my left femur and that I needed a biopsy. They didn't use the word cancer in those days. I wasn't told a lot; I knew there was something in my leg, that it was nasty, and it needed to be taken out. But that was all.

I had the biopsy a few days later at Derby Children's Hospital and was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. At the time, the only surgery available at my local hospital was amputation. Luckily, my surgeon knew Mr. Rodney Sweetnam (later Sir Rodney) who was working in Middlesex Hospital and was performing limb salvage surgery. Mr Sweetnam agreed to take me on as a patient.

Over a period of six months, I had six cycles of chemotherapy, which was given over four days every three weeks.

The chemotherapy was really tough, and I needed four blood transfusions.

Mr. Sweetnam was able to save my leg and I had a full bone replacement of my femur, tibia, and knee. I needed to have several surgeries as I grew, travelling to Middlesex Hospital every 8 - 10 months to have my implant replaced as I grew. My last major revision surgery was in 1994. I've had a few smaller revision surgeries since then, my last in January 2022.

There have been lots of ups and downs, it's been a journey that's for sure! Obviously, the chemotherapy was awful. Losing your hair is so heart wrenching but I learnt to embrace it and refused to wear a wig!

The surgeries sometimes felt endless and most of my childhood was from 8 - 15 years old was spent travelling from home to Middlesex Hospital in London.

I was bullied on occasions, but I learnt to get on with it all and stand up to the nasty kids and to cancer! My mum was incredible, she never left my side. My whole family were so supportive. I was very lucky to have the support that I had and continue to have from my husband and my own children.

I refused to change my life after being diagnosed to osteosarcoma and refused up until recent years to ever give up! Age has finally caught up with me though.

My message to current patients would be to fight, because no one else can do it for you. That's what my mum said to me one day when I was feeling sorry for myself right at the beginning of my treatment - that I had to fight, no one else could do it for me. So, I did!

You are allowed to have your down days; you are only human after all. But then put on your best smile and stick your middle finger up to cancer. Fight hard and keep being amazing.

Awareness is so important as it helps to save lives The earlier the diagnosis the better the chance of survival. I am facing my fears and taking part in a charity skydive to raise money for Bone Cancer Research Trust in a few days’ time. The work they do in raising awareness and funding research into primary bone cancer means so much.

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