My daughter, Alayna, always loved sports and running and when she was just 10 years old she started to get a lot of pain in her leg, both during sports and at other times too. We noticed that one of her legs was slightly longer than the other and my gut instinct told me that something wasn't right.
We decided to take Alayna to our GP who referred her to the hospital to have an MRI scan shortly afterwards. The results of the MRI scan showed that her pelvis was slightly tilted and she would need further tests to examine the root of the problem. Alayna was admitted to the children's ward and went on to have a bone scan and a CT scan. Waiting for the results was nerve-wracking and our family had to pull together for support.
A week later the results came in. We were told that Alayna had a lump in her left pelvis that was pushing her leg out, making it longer and causing the pain. We were told the lump was Ewing's sarcoma - a type of rare children's cancer. When you hear the word cancer you just freeze. It was all such a shock. It was explained to us that Alayna was going to need chemotherapy, starting immediately. She had a real fear of needles at the time and decided to name the PICC line that was inserted her 'Wiggly'! During the chemotherapy Alayna showed such strength, even when she felt poorly and couldn't eat. She named the nose tube fitted to feed her, 'Suzie'.
After 14 cycles of chemotherapy Alayna started a course of radiotherapy, which lasted for three months. When her treatment was finished and she had all her tubes removed we decided to throw a big 'Well Done' party where we invited all of our family and friends to come and share this special moment with us.
There were times during treatment that Alayna would ask, "why me?", and I had to reassure her that she was being such a brave girl and that she was going to make it through this. I told her she had to concentrate on the things that made her happy, like her cooking, singing and dancing, as she was going to be able to do all this again soon.
She's now 14 years old and has grown into such an amazing young woman. The cancer has gone and she is so much stronger and more confident. She's an inspiration to all of her friends, and especially to me.
Photo credit: TK Maxx, Give Up Clothes for Good
Vea & Alayna are supporting Give Up Clothes For Good with TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens. Visit cruk.org/kidsandteens for further information.