JUST days before teenager Jessica Robson was due to be starting a new life in Australia with her family, she was dealt a devastating blow.
The 15-year-old, of Cramlington in Northumberland, was getting ready to emigrate with her parents and sister when doctors discovered a tumour in her right thigh.
Plans for the move were postponed as Jessica started a rigorous course of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer following the summer holidays in 2010.
The 15-year-old underwent an operation to have the tumour removed and was given a course of radiotherapy.
But after the operation surgeons discovered the cancer had spread to her chest and Jessica was put back on another course of chemotherapy.
Her mother Julie said: “She is going on a medical trial in April that will hopefully clear it up at the RVI.
“At the moment the chemotherapy pills she is taking just stabilises it. We are hoping the trial drug will just clear it all.”
Julie and husband Trevor had been planning their move abroad with daughters Jessica and Nicole, 18, following family holidays in Australia.
The couple had sold their business TJs Jungle, which they had run for nine years, to Julie’s brother and were ready to leave when Jessica was diagnosed.
“We were going to move to Australia but that all changed when Jessica was diagnosed,” said 44-year-old Julie, who now helps her brother run TJs Jungle.
Now the family are concentrating on caring for Jessica, who has been forced to use a wheelchair due to surgery.
“She has no immune system and her blood has to be constantly monitored,” said Julie. “She has to use a wheelchair because her muscles were weakened by the operation.”
But Jessica is not letting anything hold her back and has already achieved grades A to C in her Science, Maths and English GCSEs.
“She is sitting another three or four in the summer. She is home tutored at the moment but loves going into school when she can for some lessons,” said Julie.
“She has a lovely bunch of friends, we are very proud of her.” But sitting her GCSEs while undergoing chemotherapy is not the only thing Jessica has set her mind to.
The brave teenager is also in the middle of organising a three-mile fundraising walk – the Walk to Recovery – around her home town of Cramlington with best friend Laura Peacock.
Laura’s mum, Sheila Turner, said: “It was my mother Lesley’s idea. She suggested it to Jessica and Laura and it went from there.”
Now Jessica and Laura’s families are teaming up to help raise thousands for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Already 141 people have signed up for the walk on Sunday, April 29, which starts at The Senotaph in Cramlington.
A maximum of 150 people can take part in the walk which will finish with a fundraiser at Cramlington Village Club afterwards with raffles and a disco. To support her efforts visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Jessica4