Emily Parsons, who is in the final year of her Business and Psychology degree, recently took a leave of absence to undergo surgery for a spinal cord tumour which was discovered shortly after her 22nd birthday. Devastatingly, her prognosis has revealed the tumour is terminal.
The type of tumour Emily has – Diffuse Midline Glioma, H3 K27M Mutation – is significantly rare and incurable, affecting fewer than 100 people in the UK each year, all of whom are between the ages of 3-25 years old. It grows rapidly within the central nervous system, often impacting the spinal cord or the brain.
Despite her heartbreaking news, Emily was determined to put her time and effort into supporting an important research project taking place at Cancer Research UK’s Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence, based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire.
This project is studying tumours formed in the central nervous systems of children and young adults to identify potential treatment options for the future. Emily was inspired to help due to its relevance with her own type of tumour, her receiving treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, as well as her love of children and aspirations to have been a primary school teacher.
In just the first four days of the fundraising campaign, she successfully raised an incredible amount of £26,000, and as a result has now increased her target to £50,000.
As of 21 December, her JustGiving page has shown supporters have donated more than £42,000, and Emily hopes she can reach her target before the end of the year.
The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences was keen to support Emily and her family and has circulated the link to colleagues across the University in a bid to reach the overall target.
Emily hopes that the research project may lead to a more positive future for those who are diagnosed with the tumour, by providing more readily available information and hopefully one day, a cure.
In addition, Emily shared an important message on her fundraising page:
“Whilst I knew there was something wrong, it took multiple GP appointments across several months before I was finally referred to a specialist. I know that for my cancer, an early diagnosis would have been highly unlikely to make a difference to my prognosis, but for other cancers it could.
“We all know our own bodies, so no matter what your age, if something doesn’t feel right don’t delay seeking professional advice and don’t give up until someone listens to you.”
Those who would like to donate to Emily’s cause can find her JustGiving page online here.