A cancer survivor whose horrific experience with the disease left her with post-traumatic stress disorder has thanked Sunday Mirror readers for boosting our Christmas campaign.
Thousands of you dug deep to give to Teenage Cancer Trust, which delivers support to the 2,200 13 to 24-year-olds diagnosed with the disease each year.
Your donations help people like Demi Taggart, who was 24 when a tumour in her throat grew so big it crushed her windpipe and began to suffocate her.
Demi was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and had to cancel her wedding as she headed into months of gruelling treatment.
She was later prescribed antidepressants as she struggled to cope after finally going into remission.
But a Teenage Cancer Trust nurse specialist arranged counselling for Demi – and she was diagnosed with PTSD relating to the trauma.
Demi, 26, said: “Fighting cancer isn’t just physical. After my treatment I was very down. People expect you to go back to normal but I felt anxious constantly.
“I was terrified of the cancer returning. Without Teenage Cancer Trust I would have felt completely abandoned.
“I’m so grateful to all who donated to this incredible charity.”
Demi, from Articlave, Northern Ireland, was rushed to A&E at Antrim Area Hospital in December two years ago, struggling to breathe.
With the risk to her lungs, doctors could not sedate her – so she remained conscious as they “delved deep into her neck” for 90 minutes in an emergency biopsy.
Demi recalled: “I could hear everything, I was in bits.”
How to give to the Teenage Cancer Trust
See below for the ways you can support the campaign below:
By text: Text NURSE to 70500 to donate £5*
By post: Send cheques payable to “Teenage Cancer Trust” to Sunday Mirror, Christmas Appeal, Reach plc, one Canada Square, Canary Wharf, london, E14 5AP
*Teenage Cancer Trust will receive 100% of your donation. Text will be charged at £5 plus one standard network message.
Always ask the bill payer’s permission. We will text you once to say thank you, then a second time to ask if you’d like to hear more fromus.
We won’t contact you again if you don’t reply to the second text.
For full terms & conditions, please visit teenagecancertrust.org/text.
Weeks later she began six rounds of chemo and 15 radiotherapy sessions, and by November 2017 was in remission. But her mental health had been badly affected.
A Teenage Cancer Trust nurse specialist called Kerrie arranged counselling for Demi, mum Lucinda, 45, and sister Terri, 24.
And two months ago Demi was diagnosed with PTSD, believed to stem from her first biopsy. She is now being treated.
Last week Demi married partner Wes McNeil, 25 – two years after her cancer diagnosis. She smiled: “We’ve swapped the horrendous memories for happy ones.”
Teenage Cancer Trust has 28 wards across the UK.
Fundraising director Liz Tait said: “Many thanks to readers who generously donated. Your money will help us make a world of difference to more young people in 2019.”