When Danielle was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 23, it was the end of months go going back and forth to the hospital. Upon discovery that she had tumours on both her ovaries and required immediate surgery, her thoughts of the future, and having a family felt distant. This is her story.
As a new stylist in a busy salon in Reading, Danielle had experiencing excruciating pain in her side but battled on with her day-to-day. It wasn’t until her mum drove past her walking down the street, almost bent double, that she was prompted to make an appointment with the GP.
Being so young, Danielle was suspected to have appendicitis and was sent straight on to A+E. It was a routine blood test that flagged something more serious could be at play. It took months of visits back and forth to the hospital until she was finally diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. Danielle was told she had tumours on both of her ovaries which was worrying as she had been trying to start a family.
Danielle, said: “My partner and I had been trying for a baby for a while now, so I think the biggest blow was hearing that the doctors couldn’t extract eggs from my ovaries as the tumours were too aggressive. I had a normal life and had just started a new job, then suddenly I had to quickly undergo extensive surgery in October 2015. When I woke up, I was told my ovaries and fallopian tubes had been removed but I still had my womb.
All of a sudden I was 23 and going through the menopause. Luckily my boss was amazing and I was able to go back to work gradually. My partner was incredible and my rock, I don’t know how I could have got through it without him by my side."
Danielle could think about her future again but thoughts of a family of her own were tough.
"The NHS provided our first round of funding for IVF, which we were extremely grateful for. We were so lucky that it worked first time."
As the new decade arrived, so did a new arrival for Daniella and her partner, as they welcomed their beautiful daughter Frankie into the world on New Year’s Day 2020.
"Since becoming a mother, we have been on so many little adventures and having the pure joy of watching her grow up. It's been amazing but our heart has been hurting as she's been asking for a baby brother or sister. We've always envisioned ourselves as a family of four, but we would never be able to afford the money that comes with IVF. It's something we can save for, but it'll take us a long time and in the back of my mind I'm thinking, how old will I be?"
But just a few months ago, Danielle got a very unexpected call.
"A very dear friend of mine asked me if I could meet up for a coffee as there was something she needed to discuss with me. I was nervous but also wondering what could possibly be going on. I met up with Annie and she told me that it was always in the back of her mind about IVF and the journey we went on to have Frankie as this is also something very close to her heart. She went through a few details and deep chat, and asked me if she could set up a Go Fund Me page and help gain the funds to create the final piece of our family puzzle. As you can imagine I was beside myself with all kinds of emotions more than anything happiness and shock. What a kind women to even suggest something like this, this could completely change our lives and my daughter's.
I hope to one day return this amazing offer to another family who is in the same situation, maybe we could keep a train going where we keep helping families?
I want to share my story to encourage women at any age with symptoms that don’t feel right to go to their GP immediately. And that having a family is possible after ovarian cancer - I've been extremely lucky but with the help of friends and family, what seemed impossible has become possible."