A SCHOOLGIRL who was told she was suffering from growing pains turned out to have a life-threatening form of cancer.
Sophie Huntingdon was taken to a doctor suffering from aches in her knees last October.
But the 14-year-old was told the discomfort was merely down to her development.
When the pain became so intense that Sophie could barely walk, her family took her to a nearby health centre.
She was then referred to Sunderland Royal Hospital where medics, concerned about her condition, transferred the teenager to specialists at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).
The Hetton School pupil was diagnosed with, and is currently being treated for, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).
Mum Denise, 44, who lives with Sophie and son Daniel, 20, and works as a materials handler at Nissan – said: “She had these pains in her knees, but apart from that she was fine.
“We did go to the doctor who said it was growing pains and that was three months before December and we took her back to see someone after Boxing Day because she couldn’t walk because of the pain.
“It was a massive shock.
“She was diagnosed on December 27 and began her treatment on the 28th.”
Sophie is expected to continue her chemotherapy all the way through until November.
Denise added: “Depending on what type of treatment she has, it can really take it out of her and she can be very poorly.
“But the staff at the RVI have been fantastic, they let us know exactly what is happening all the time.”
ALL is the most common form of leukaemia in children and bone or joint pain is one of the symptoms.
Others include a fever, tiredness, frequent infections, paleness and swollen or tender lymph nodes, liver or spleen.
The cancer affects the white blood cells in the body which normally fight infections. Sophie has been having chemotherapy to help her battle against the illness.
Denise said: “Sophie used to enjoy horse riding but I think we will have to wait until she is a bit stronger before she tries it again.”
Now, 16 members of South Hetton Cricket Club spent the weekend cycling from the Humber Bridge back to their clubhouse to raise money for the youngster.
Money raised by the group will go to Sophie and her family to help with travel costs to the RVI.
They set out on Friday and completed the 172 mile route in time for a celebration at the club’s base last night.
The party was attended by Sunderland AFC legend Jimmy Montgomery, who is the club’s honorary president.
Colin Noble, 47, one of the organisers of the ride, said: “We just want to help. They’re going back and forward to the hospital and we want to make it is easy for them as we can.”
Anyone who would still like to contribute can drop in money to the club house, just off Front Street in South Hetton.