A 12-year-old girl discovered she had a deadly disease after a chance encounter with a ginger Labrador puppy.
Evelyn Thomsen had been experiencing numbness and tingling in her foot before she noticed part of her leg begin to swell after pet Labrador Hazel landed on her. When this continued to happen her mother, Lisa Reimer, 45, took her to the doctor.
After a series of tests, including an ultrasound Evelyn was diagnosed with cancer. Soon after she underwent 14 rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to remove a 10cm tumour in her right leg.
While the operation was a success, the youngster had to have an above-the-knee amputation. What’s more, doctors also discovered she had cancer in her lungs, requiring additional radiotherapy.
During the treatment, Lisa decided she would shave her head in solidarity with her daughter who went through 10 months of punishing treatment.
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Despite the gruelling period, Evelyn is now cancer free and both her family and Hazel are enjoying some rest.
Lisa spoke to the Mirror to mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. She said: “I think that she was very good about taking it one day at a time because it was very overwhelming to think about more chemo or what might happen the next day.
“So she’s definitely stayed in the moment and dealt with what was immediately in front of her while, I think for us as parents, our minds are going to the future and to worst case scenarios and all those things.”
Lisa added that that while treatment is over, it continues to have a significant impact.
Lisa explained: “She just stayed focused on one step at a time but it’s certainly had a huge effect and it continues to have an effect.
“She physically looks different, being in a wheelchair, having lost her hair and kind of being at the centre of everyone’s stares and things.
“I think she didn’t like being out and about. She felt really isolated.”
To try and help her daughter and raise money for charity, Lisa took the decision to shave her head.
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She said: “It’s something that I had offered earlier on when she first had to shave her head but she didn’t she didn’t want me to.
“I had kind of offered it in case she felt supported in that way. She didn’t want me to do it then.
“But in the end, she wanted to and she wanted to do it as part of a fundraiser for a charity that had been supporting us.
“So that was probably the motivation was to raise funds for charity. We don’t have control over the treatments, and we don’t have control over how you’re going to respond to or feel with those treatments, but we can do the best for each other.”
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