A young woman has cycled over 100 miles to raise money for cancer research, just weeks after having chemotherapy.
Danielle Allen, aged 29, was diagnosed with very rare form of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) called gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) in February.
This is a disease which develops in rare cases during pregnancy, caused by abnormal overgrowth of cells of all or part of the placenta.
The growth can be either benign or malignant. In Danielle’s case it was malignant and she was told she would need cancer treatment at Weston Park Hospital.
At the time of the diagnosis, Danielle was expecting twins, which she sadly lost.
She said: “I had an emergency operation to remove my babies three hours after having a routine pregnancy scan.
“Since then, I have been in hospital several times, had a blood transfusion, and months worth of chemotherapy - along with dealing with the emotional effects of it all.
“However, I consider myself lucky as some women have it a lot worse than me.”
While going through chemotherapy for the disease, which is curable in 98 per cent of cases, Danielle decided she wanted to help raise awareness of the rare condition.
Nine weeks after she completed her final chemotherapy session, she set off on the 140-mile Coast 2 Coast (C2C) cycle ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth.
Supported by her husband Paul and friend Niall Cotterhill, Danielle completed the challenge in two days.
She said: “It was a lot harder than any of us thought it would be. Taking mountain bikes was not a good idea. There were also a fair few steep and long inclines.
“I’ve always been in to fitness, but with me being poorly I’ve not done any training this year.
“We normally cycle for around 20 to 30 miles on a Saturday or Sunday, but we’d never done anything like this before. We cycled as much as we could in the run up tp the event, but I don’t think I had any idea what I’d let myself in for.”
Danielle set up an online donation page and had hoped to raise £1,000 for the GTD team’s research project, Jean’s Trust, at the University of Sheffield.
However, friends, family and well-wishers had helped Danielle to exceed this target and, at the time of going to print, she had raised over £1,800 including Gift Aid.
She said: “I can’t believe how generous people have been. When I was finding the bike ride tough I just thought of all the people who had donated money.
“The people behind the project said it was the highest single donation they had received.”
“Stubbornness kept me going. I’d set myself a challenge so I was going to do it. Paul and Niall kept me going too.”
Weston Park Hospital is one of only two centres in the UK where research and treatment is carried out into GTN.
Around 600 new women receive treatment at the hospital each year
In most cases GTD is removed, however, around five to six per cent of women diagnosed with GTD will develop persistent disease (GTN), and need chemotherapy.
Danielle added: “Although this disease is curable, I have gone through such a roller coaster of emotions since February - as well as physical trauma.
“This diagnosis is incredibly rare. I had never heard of it before and my friends had never heard about it before. Only one person I’ve spoken to has ever heard about it before.
Please donate what you can, every penny will be appreciated.”
You can still donate to Danielle online via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danielle-allen5 site.