A young woman has been hailed as an inspiration for helping to raise money for cancer patients while she battles an incurable form of the disease.
Doctors thought Amy Usher, 21, had a simple chest infection when she came down with a bad cough and cold just as she was looking forward to celebrating Christmas with her family.
But her situation turned into a nightmare when tests revealed she had a rare form of incurable throat cancer.
The forensic science student has been hailed as an inspiration for the courage she has shown in facing the disease while helping her sister Beth to raise thousands of pounds to help other sufferers.
Down-to-earth Amy, from Wath, said: “It is harder for my family in some ways as they feel helpless. I just have to get on with it.
“I do have bad days where I just don’t want to get out of bed, but mainly I want to keep busy and just do as many things as possible while I can.”
Amy started to feel unwell after returning home from university in December 2012 and was given antibiotics for a chest infection.
But she started having breathing difficulties and an x-ray revealed she had a tumour.
She spent five weeks in hospital as doctors tried to remove the lump and was fitted with a tracheotomy to help her breathing if the tumour returned.
Amy was treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital and the treatment seemed to have worked, but an incurable form of the cancer returned last summer and she is now receiving treatment to extend her life.
She said: “You go through all that and then to be told it hasn’t worked is really hard.”
Family members said she has shown great courage in facing her illness.
She recently helped to collect sponsorship for her sister Beth who completed the 10k Run in the Park event in Sheffield in July to raise money for Weston Park’s Teenage Cancer Trust Unit.
The sisters hoped to raise £200 but the Wath community was so touched by their plight that they have so far managed to collect more than £6200.
Amy joked: “She was worried she might not even raise the £35 she needed to get the T-shirt.”
Beth, 23, added: “I wanted to do something to give something back to the people who are trying to help Amy, We just can’t believe it.
“People have been so generous. I never thought we’d raise anything like that but it is for a very good cause.”
The sisters received sponsorship from friends, family, businesses and even the Sheffield Steelers ice hockey team.
Amy remains determined to make the most of life.
She said: “There’s nothing that can teach you how to deal with something like this. You just have to get on with it and focus on the next treatment.
“We are trying to do as many things as possible. I love going to pop concerts and before we might have said it was too expensive now we are just trying to see as many people as possible.”
Helen Gentle, fundraising manager at Weston Park Hospital, said: “At the charity, we are incredibly grateful to both Beth and Amy for raising such an unbelievable amount and offering their utmost support despite their difficult circumstances.”
To donate to Beth and Amy’s online fundraising page visit https://www.justgiving.com/bethusher/