Funds flood in as teenager who fought cancer raises cash to help hospital ward

Phoebe Hedley.
Phoebe Hedley.
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A teenager has increased her fund-raising target after an overwhelming response to her story.

Despite battling a potentially cancerous tumour, Phoebe Hedley, 16, launched a fund-raising campaign to boost funds for Newcastle RVI’s teenage cancer ward.

Phoebe Hedley getting a cheque from members of the Washington Rotary Club.

Phoebe Hedley getting a cheque from members of the Washington Rotary Club.

While undergoing months of gruelling chemotherapy, the Cleadon teen set up a fund-raising page in May in a bid to raise £3,000 for the unit.

However, as the money came pouring in, the original amount was soon passed and Phoebe has now raised the target to £5,000. She said: “I can’t believe how much has been raised so far, it is brilliant.

“I will just keep going, though, because this is something I am really passionate about.”

In 2012, Phoebe, a student at Whitburn CE Academy, was diagnosed with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), which is a rare condition causing hundreds of polyps, which are small growths, to form in the large bowel. If left untreated will become cancerous.

Phoebe Hedley with her boyfriend Jack Graham.

Phoebe Hedley with her boyfriend Jack Graham.

At the age of just 13, Phoebe had to undergo a massive operation to have her full colon removed and a reconstruction.

Thinking the worst was over, she and her family were left devastated when doctors discovered a tumour had formed on scar tissue in the teen’s abdomen. Although not yet cancerous, specialists at the RVI had to act fast to try to shrink the tumour, before it became malignant.

Phoebe, who has three sisters, Annie, 14, Yvie, five, and two-year-old Olivia, said: “They couldn’t operate to remove it because it would just grow back.”

Instead, the teenager had to have weekly sessions of chemotherapy for six months and is now having them once a fortnight, and thankfully the treatment appears to be working.

She said: “I set up the fundraising page to give something back to every nurse, doctor and charity that has helped me through such difficult times.”

After appearing in the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette, a number of people have come forward offering to support her efforts, including the Washington branch of the Rotary Club, which has donated £500 to her fundraising.

Phoebe and her boyfriend, Jack Graham, 16, were invited along to meet members of the rotary club and speak to them about what she had been through.

Rotarian Neil McOnie, said: “There wasn’t a dry eye amongst those listening to Phoebe.”

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