Young cancer survivor on campaign to give back

Chantelle Graves, 20, is raising money for The Teenage Cancer Trust.
Chantelle Graves, 20, is raising money for The Teenage Cancer Trust.

A 20-year-old cancer survivor is raising money to celebrate her 21st birthday.

Chantelle Graves, who lives in Heckmondwike with her boyfriend, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was a teenager.

Chantelle Graves and her boyfriend Danny Barraclough.

Chantelle Graves and her boyfriend Danny Barraclough.

“I was 17 at the time just living a normal life going to college and seeing friends,” she said, “I went to the doctors one day because I started getting a lump on the left side of my neck.”

“I’d thought nothing of it but the doctors sent me to the hospital for a scan and they then immediately sent me to Leeds teenage cancer unit for more tests.

“I was kept in hospital from then on.”

Chantelle was put on a course of drugs and battled through weeks of Monday to Friday chemotherapy.

“I wasn’t able to eat half of the time or drink anything, I had to be helped to get into the bath or walk up some stairs.

“I contracted an infection in my blood due my body rejecting the portacath where my chemo went in, blood clots in my arm, countless operations and lots other problems.

“When I lost my hair I felt so alone and so excluded from the outside world.

“People staring and pointing, I felt so ugly, it’s honestly the worst thing a girl can go through.”

Chantelle turns 21 in April and is hoping to raise at least £500 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, who she credits with ‘giving her her life back’.

“I’ve always wanted to raise some money for a charity but until now I didn’t have the courage to share my story with lots of people.

“They’ve helped me in so many ways, and got me through such a tough time in my life,”

“The support was fantastic and to be able to give them something back to help another young teenager who is going through the same thing would be amazing.”

Chantelle says she still suffers with low confidence but is enjoying life again.

“I still suffer with anxiety now and again, but I’ve got better things to be grateful for, my life, health, family, I’m able to go out and enjoy myself.”

Anybody wishing to sponsor Chantelle can do so by visiting her collection website at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chantelle-graves