A teenager who noticed a lump in her neck before lockdown has been diagnosed with stage four cancer.
Paige Heeland thought nothing of the “little” lump in her neck but it continued to grow to the size of a 10p coin.
The 19-year-old, from Tunstall, visited her GP and was sent for a biopsy. Last month she received the news that she has stage four Hodgkin lymphoma.
Paige has been told the cancer is treatable and she must now undergo six months of chemotherap, Stoke on Trent Live explains.
The nursery worker told the publication: “A couple of months before lockdown I found a little lump in my neck, but I thought nothing of it.
“I was just messing with my neck one day and asked my boyfriend if he could feel the lump on my neck. We didn’t know what it was.
“I thought if it got bigger I would go to the doctors and get it seen to. I could feel it getting bigger and it grew to the size of a 10p coin so I went to the doctors and they referred me to the hospital.
“I had some blood tests and scans and I had a biopsy on my neck. I got a call asking me to go to the cancer centre at the Royal Stoke University Hospital so me and my mum went.
“They said it was Hodgkin lymphoma cancer. I was upset, devastated and shocked because I never thought it would be cancer. It’s just sinking in that I have cancer. It was also heartbreaking for my mum.”
Paige says she is nervous about the treatment, but is trying to stay positive.
She said: “I didn’t think I had any symptoms other than the lump, but during lockdown I had really itchy skin. After my diagnosis I was given a leaflet on Hodgkin lymphoma and it says itchy skin is a symptom of the cancer.
“I now need to have six months chemotherapy. It’s a bit scary because I don’t know what to expect, but it’s going to get me better.
“They have said I can have a cap that will save 80 per cent of my hair. I think it will be quite uncomfortable but I don’t want my hair to fall out.
“I’m just taking each day as it comes, just trying to stay positive. I have my days where I think I don’t want to do this, but I’ve just got to think positive.
“I’ve got lots of people around me, my boyfriend Darryl is very supportive. He found out his Nan has cancer two weeks before me. It has hit him really hard and he’s going through it as well.
“But he’s strong and keeping positive.”
Paige has been forced to give up work due to her diagnosis and friend Stef Campbell organised a raffle to raise money to support Paige while she is unable to work.
And Paige says she is “so thankful”.
She added: “I’ve had to give up work and my friend Stef set up a fundraiser to help support me while I’m unable to work.
“I’m so thankful to Stef, the raffle was a real surprise and I’m very grateful. It’s very supportive of everyone.”
More than 40 prizes were donated for the raffle including a one-week stay in Turkey, a £100 tattoo voucher and a £500 nail course. It has raised a total of £2,500.
Raffle organiser and Paige’s best friend Stef Campbell hopes the money will support Paige while she undergoes her treatment.
The 33-year-old, from Milton, said: “I set the raffle up because I’ve already lost all of my grandparents to cancer and Paige is so young.
“She can’t work, so she’ll have no income which I want to help with and also donate some money to cancer research.
“So many people have been so supportive of her. Paige is such a nice person, nobody has anything bad to say about her, she’s amazing.
“I just want her to get better because she’s such a nice girl.”