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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Mother with young son chosen as face of Scotland's Stand Up To Cancer campaign

Written by The Press Association

A new mother who was diagnosed with cancer when her son was just eight months old is backing a campaign urging people to stand up to the disease.

Shiela Laramore, 33, was diagnosed with aggressive Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells, on September 23 last year.

After enduring chemotherapy from last October until December and three weeks of radiotherapy in January she was declared cancer free in May.

Mrs Laramore has now been chosen as the face of Scotland's Stand Up To Cancer campaign, a joint fundraising initiative from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.

Backed by celebrities including Andy Murray, Pharrell Williams and Edith Bowman, it aims to speed up the development of new cancer treatments and tests.

Mrs Laramore, whose son Harry (pictured) is now one, said: "Nobody should have to worry about not seeing their children grow up.

"When I first learnt I had cancer I just sat there thinking, 'that's it. I'm going to die.' It was very hard to take in and a big shock.

"I kept thinking, 'Am I going to live to see my baby become a little boy and grow up?

"But I got through cancer and I know research saves lives. That's why I'm giving my heartfelt support to join the rebellion.

"Stand Up To Cancer raises money to speed up more effective treatments for people who really need it.

"Harry is my gorgeous, precious little boy and I'll do everything I can to be the best possible mum for him. If I can make a difference and help others along the way then I'll do it."

Mrs Laramore, an RAF Association welfare officer from Dunbar, East Lothian, was diagnosed after tests on a lump on her neck.

More tests showed she also had other lumps around her neck and chest area which she had not noticed.

She and her husband Gabriel, 31, struggled to take in news of the diagnosis.

However doctors said that although her cancer was aggressive, it was also very treatable, though she was warned that it could affect her fertility.

She said: "I was offered a round of IVF to freeze eggs or embryos but I declined. I felt truly lucky to have my little boy. He's perfect.

"I had to put him first and felt that to give myself the best possible chance of being around to be his mum, I had to start treatment immediately."

She added: "My cancer was caught in the early stages which means it was easier to treat. But I'd urge anyone who notices anything out of the ordinary or different about their body that is worrying them to go along to the doctor and get it checked out."

In May this year, 12 weeks after treatment came to an end, the results of a scan showed that she was cancer free.

Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised more than £38 million to fund more than 40 clinical trials and research projects.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland, urged people to back the campaign.

She said: "Every hour, four people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland.* And day after day, dedicated doctors, nurses and scientists work tirelessly to beat the disease.

"We're on the brink of a revolution in cancer research but we can't afford to stand still. It's time to rebel against cancer, raise cash and save lives."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Lesley Martin / PA Wire.

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