A newlywed has encouraged others to trust their ‘guts’ and ‘check their lumps’ after being diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer the day before her 28th birthday.
Courtney Wilson-Calder from Leeds found a bulge on her neck earlier this year but when she spoke to doctors in March they told her it was just ‘swollen lymph nodes’.
When it got bigger and painful, the hairdresser went to see a specialist who told her it could be cancer.
“I spent time away from work with loved ones who helped me come to terms with what I might be facing,” she said.
“I spoke to my fiancé and decided I wanted to get married before starting any treatment.”
After arranging her marriage to partner Liam Calder in just five weeks, Wilson-Calder was told by doctors that the bump was not cancerous.
She said: ‘I relaxed, my friends planned a bachelorette party for me and I was so happy and relieved.
“I married the man of my dreams, but we didn’t expect what was to come.”
Devastatingly, the new bride discovered another lump on her neck and after another biopsy she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma the day before her 28th birthday.
The disease, which accounts for less than one percent of all new cancer cases, develops in the network of vessels and glands that spread throughout the body.
According to the NHS, it can develop at any age, but mainly affects people between the ages of 20 and 40 and those over 75.
Around 2,100 people in the UK are diagnosed with this rare condition each year.
The exact cause of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is unknown.
After accepting the shock diagnosis, Wilson-Calder took to TikTok to describe her experiences in a bid to encourage others to “check their bumps” and trust their “gut feelings”.
Her story quickly went viral, garnering hundreds of comments and over a million views.
She said: “Symptoms of lymphoma can be difficult to diagnose and recognize.
“I will soon begin treatment and my journey to recovery. I have a positive treatment plan in place and am ready to give it my all.
“[But] I want to encourage everyone of all ages to check their bumps and believe in their intuition.
Wilson-Calder and those close to her have sought solace in raising funds and awareness for the rare disease.
Her JustGiving page quickly surpassed her £500 target and currently stands at £4,500.
Sarah Thorn, community and partnerships manager at Lymphoma Action, said the charity was grateful to Wilson-Calder for raising awareness about the disease.
She said: “Everyone at Lymphoma Action is thinking of Courtney and wishing her the best with her treatment.
“We want to say a huge thank you to her for so bravely raising awareness and funds for lymphoma for us, especially as she has just been diagnosed.”
Additional reports by SWNS
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