Teenager battles to beat cancer

A BRAVE teenager has spoken of her anguish after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer – three years after her father also faced the deadly disease.

A BRAVE teenager has spoken of her anguish after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer – three years after her father also faced the deadly disease.

Six months ago 14-year-old Jolene Roy was just like any other teenager – happy-go-lucky, carefree and with a passion for music and fashion.

But her life was turned upside-down when she woke one morning last June to find a small lump just under her collarbone.

Within weeks her worst nightmare became reality when she was diagnosed with the rare cancer Hodgkin's Disease, which attacks the lymphatic system.

The brave teenager, from Kersey Avenue, Great Cornard, has now seen her hair fall out as a result of gruelling chemotherapy sessions, has to endure weekly injections and is forced to take a cocktail of up to 14 tablets a day, including steroids and anti-sickness pills.

Jolene's diagnosis is a cruel blow to her family, who are battling the perils of the illness for the second time.

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Three years ago, the youngster's 37-year-old father Kevin nearly lost his ability to speak when he was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue.

Fortunately, he eventually made a full recovery and Jolene's family are now optimistic she will follow in her father's footsteps.

Yesterday, Jolene and her mother Lyz, 37, spoke to the EADT about the youngster's plight and the shattering affect her illness has had upon the family.

Lyz said: "When we found out Jolene had cancer we were just devastated. When you here those words, you just automatically think the worst.

"She had never been ill before and has always been carefree and happy-go-lucky. This has just turned our lives upside-down.

"We are just taking things day by day."

Jolene added: "You just don't think something like this is going to happen to you. It has made me change the way I look at life and I have grown up a lot.

"I think the worst thing was my hair falling out as I found that really hard. Sometimes I get a bit angry and think it is unfair that this has happened to me, but when I go to the hospital I see babies and children who are worse off than I am.

"Before this I didn't realise how many children have got cancer, but I am lucky because mine is curable."

Despite Jolene's terrible ordeal her family – which includes her older sister Collette, 17, and younger brother Deklyn, 9 – are optimistic about the future.

And on March 25, her first six-months of treatment will be complete. The family are hoping Jolene will then be given the all clear.

"We are trying to be positive and we are optimistic about the future," added mum Lyz. "Sometimes I do feel a bit hard done by because this is the second time our family has suffered cancer in the past few years, but you just have to get on with it.

"It is really hard for all of us, but Jolene is so brave and never complains. Despite all she is going through she is staying so strong and I am really proud of her."

Family friend Jill Byford has been so touched by the teenager's plight that she has agreed to have her head shaved to raise money for the cancer unit at Addenbrooke's, Cambridgeshire.

The shave will take place at The Brook Inn, Great Cornard, on Sunday, February 29. Around £1,000 has already been raised, but anybody who would like to donate cash can get sponsorship forms at the Alpha Hair Company in East Street, Sudbury.

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