A teenage girl diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after a scan on a broken leg is now back home with her family after six months in hospital.
Holly Ralph, 16, from Sloothby, near Alford, has been battling osteosarcoma – cancer that starts in the cells that form the bones – for the past six months.
The teenager had been suffering with a pain in her leg prior to the break, but at the time it was believed to be growing pains. However, it was in fact a tumour and she spent four months undergoing chemotherapy in Nottingham City Hospital.
Holly was transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) for an 11-hour operation to remove the tumour. In the process of the surgery, Holly’s knee was also removed and then rebuilt with metal.
Holly’s mum Sadie said: “We thought that Holly was fine and that it was just growing pains, so it was a huge shock when we found out that she had osteosarcoma and had to start receiving chemotherapy as soon as possible.
“The majority of Holly’s treatment has been in Nottingham and I have been able to stay with her. However, when we were told we’d need to go to Newcastle I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep next to her as she’d be in intensive care.
“I had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably have to sleep in a chair in the hospital. I did try to do that one night in Nottingham and I fell off in the middle of the night. I wasn’t too keen to repeat that experience, plus I needed to get some rest to stay strong for Holly.”
The teenager spent two nights in intensive care but never faced the journey alone. Her mum Sadie was able to stay at The Sick Children’s Trust ‘Home from Home’ Crawford House, meaning Holly was never alone.
After being discharged from intensive care in Newcastle, Holly returned to Nottingham for further chemotherapy. Recently, she has been allowed to return home to be with her family in between courses, after six months in hospital.
Sadie added: “I only needed to stay in the ‘Home from Home’ for two nights and it was such a relief. I can imagine that for families who need this service for weeks, or months, it is an incredible weight off their shoulders to know that they have somewhere to stay, free of charge, that they can cook their own food in, or have some space to relax and watch some TV.
“We have recently been able to spend some time at home, which was something we’d been looking forward to for a very long time. Holly has been quite poorly but is recovering well from her operation and has started her next 18 weeks of chemo.”