Health fight goes on for cancer survivor

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A CANCER survivor is out to raise cash – as well as awareness that being given the all-clear does not mean the fight is over.

When Donna Marie Hannah was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer last year, she was dealt the devastating blow that she needed a radical hysterectomy, dashing her hopes of having children.

Now, having been told the surgery has removed all traces of the disease, she has check-ups every three months at Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital oncology outpatient department.

As a way of saying thank you to the staff there, Donna, of Oxclose in Washington, held a beach-themed fund-raiser at the Stella Maris Catholic Club in Albany, and has raised more than £1,800 of a £2,000 target.

Helped by family and friends, Donna transformed the club into a summer beach theme, with inflatable palm trees, pirate bunting and posters.

Some of the cash was raised from cake sales and raffles at her place of work, Waterview Park, where she is a civil servant.

It added to £3,000 Donna raised at an event held last year. “I really can’t thank everyone involved enough,” she said.

Although she has been given the all-clear, Donna is still suffering from the after-effects of her treatment and has been left with a weakened immune system.

The removal of her pelvic nodes has led to fluid collecting in her legs because her body cannot get rid of it – a condition known as lymph oedema.

It was a further blow to the 39-year-old, who now has to face summer wearing special support stockings.

“I was a little bit upset when I found that out, especially in summer, but we have come to a deal that I wear them every other day,” Donna said.

“But it did upset me at first. I thought ‘I’ve had the operation, the cancer’s gone, now I can get back to normal’, but it doesn’t work like that.

“I think people don’t realise the after-effects.”