Mum’s eye cancer horror - 24 hours after son’s leukaemia all-clear
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:44 31 July 2020
Picture: JANNA CLARK
A mum endured the ultimate emotional rollercoaster when she was told she had cancer - a day after her six-year-old son was given the all-clear from leukaemia.
Janna Clark barely had time for the good news about brave George to sink in before hearing she had a tumour growing in her right eye.
Mrs Clark was rushed in for a six-hour operation, which successfully removed the cancer, but left her without the eye.
Now, the 38-year-old has told of the extraordinary ups and downs, and said: “I don’t want pity or sorrow. We are survivors.”
At the age of three, George was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of blood cancer. The doctors had ordered some tests after a spate of infections and colds.
His treatment took three years and was successful, but the day before he was due to ring a bell on his hospital ward to signify he was cancer free, doctors gave Mrs Clark the heart-breaking news that she had eye cancer.
The family, including Mrs Clark’s husband Jay, 40, and daughter Bonnie, 11, were in “complete shock”.
The former hairdresser, of Mattishall, near Dereham, had pounding headaches, blurred vision and tiredness but had put her symptoms down to the stress of looking after George during his long illness.
But it was actually a cancerous tumour growing in her right eye, which had to be removed immediately.
Mrs Clark said: “It came as a complete shock to me. I didn’t know what was going to happen or what my course of treatment was going to be. All that I felt was that moment of joy for our family when George had been given the all-clear had been taken away yet again by this cruel disease.
“When George was diagnosed, it was a very difficult time for us all. When I also got cancer we just could not believe that our family had been hit again by this awful disease.”
Mrs Clark was able to walk away with her life but unfortunately lost her eye.
“I don’t want pity or sorrow,” she said. “We are survivors and I have survived this but I want people to learn from what I have been through - do not neglect your health, get yourself checked out, whatever it is, whatever symptoms you have.
“When you have a child seriously ill or a loved one who is seriously ill all these things go on the back burner. In all those years that George was sick I never went for an eye test. I was too busy looking after everyone else.
“I’m cancer free, I am cured, I am ok, but I want to share my story because if I can help just one person then I would have helped make a difference to someone.”
How can you help?
By sharing her story, Janna Clark hopes to inspire people across Norfolk to donate to Cancer Research UK.
She said: “By boosting funding now, we can all help to lessen the future impact on patients, So, I hope that people across Norfolk will be moved by the charity’s determination to carry on beating cancer and give what they can. They could make a real difference to people like me.”
The charity currently funds around 50pc of all cancer research in the UK but, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, research projects are being held up.
Patrick Keely, the charity’s spokesperson for Norfolk, said: “Covid-19 has put so much of our research on pause, leaving us facing a crisis where every day and every pound counts.
“With around 35,000 people diagnosed with cancer every year in the East of England, we will never stop striving to create better treatments. But we can’t do it alone.
“With the help of people in Norfolk, we believe that together we will still beat cancer.”
Cancer Research UK spent nearly £56 million in the East of England last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
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