Cancer survivor who fought off rare illness aged just 15 refuses to let pandemic scupper her fundraising efforts

A woman who battled back from a rare form of cancer when she was a teenager is taking on a fundraising challenge to help others after refusing to let the pandemic scupper her plans.

By Sam Johnson
Monday, 13th July 2020, 6:00 am
Phoebe Hedley, 21
Phoebe Hedley, 21

Phoebe Hedley, from Cleadon, was 15 when doctors found a large tumour in her abdomen. She was eventually diagnosed with a rare illness called desmoid fibromatosis

But after undergoing a year of gruelling chemotherapy, she successfully fought off the illness – though it remains a constant worry in her life.

“I always say that I’ve been ill for as long as I can remember,” she said.

"In 2014 a routine scan revealed I had a large tumour taking up the left side of my abdomen. So I underwent a year long course of chemotherapy in 2015.

“I’m doing okay now and my tumour has not grown in five years, but I live with the daily fear that another lump could be found, or I could get cancer again - that’s the nature of my condition.”

Phoebe, now 21, has spent the years since raising awareness of the condition and taking part in fundraisers for various causes.

These have included a 100ft abseil from the roof of the Newcastle RVI hospital, to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Her next challenge was to be a fundraising hike in North Wales for the charity Climbing Out.

But after the coronavirus outbreak led to the event being scrapped, she will now be taking on the challenge in her garden instead.

Phoebe, who has recently graduated from a linguistics degree at Newcastle University, will cover 15km, the distance she would have completed on her hike.

“With this fundraiser, the main thing I personally want to achieve is spreading the word of climbing out and the amazing work it does,” she said.

The Climbing Out charity offers help and support to anyone who has suffered physical and mental trauma in their life and also offers week long residentials offering support through activities such as hiking, kayaking and rowing.

Phoebe will be taking part in the challenge this September and anyone who would like to donate to her cause can do so via her Just Giving page.

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