Rebecca’s marathon effort for son

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Ballymoney woman Rebecca Getty had her world turned upside down last June when she was told that her 15-year-old son had a type of cancer called Hodgkin’sLymphoma.

With his treatment completed and outlook looking good, Rebecca has decided to take part in a fundraising challenge called the Mighty Hike for Macmillan

Cancer Support following the support and services that were offered to her son and his family from the charity’s Macmillan nurse specialists.

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Rebecca is a manager in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and knows only too well the types of services that Macmillan Cancer Support provide to those who need it.

Rebecca from Ballymoney (left) and Kim (right) will be taking part in  Macmillan’s Mighty Hike Challenge around the Giants Causeway in JuneRebecca from Ballymoney (left) and Kim (right) will be taking part in  Macmillan’s Mighty Hike Challenge around the Giants Causeway in June
Rebecca from Ballymoney (left) and Kim (right) will be taking part in Macmillan’s Mighty Hike Challenge around the Giants Causeway in June

“One of the areas of responsibility in my role within the Northern Trust is cancer services so I know quite a lot about the amazing work that Macmillan do,

especially providing financial assistance for the expansion of our team of specialist nurses,” explains Rebecca.

“Even though I am very aware of that many of us will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point during our lives, there’s nothing that can prepare you as a parent to be told your child has cancer. He was diagnosed in June 2020 with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was just 15 and in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. His main symptom was an all over body itch which started around April during the first lockdown.

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“By mid-June his symptoms still hadn’t resolved and on the advice of the local out of hours primary care service I brought him to the Emergency Department one Saturday night. Six days later we were sitting in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children being told he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He commenced chemotherapy ten days later.”

From the outset Rebecca’s son and his family were provided with advice and support from a number of charities which are tailored to teenagers and young people such as the Teenage Cancer Trust but, as Rebecca explains, knowing that the Macmillan specialist nurses were at the end of the phone to answer any queries was hugely comforting.

“Thankfully he responded well to his treatment and completed his chemotherapy in October, but he will continue to be reviewed on a regular basis for some time to come,” explains Rebecca. “I really hope this summer there is some semblance of normality for him and his friends who have all missed out on so much in the last 12 months.”

Rebecca’s Mighty Hike Challenge will be taking place in June and she will have the support and encouragement of many of her hospital colleagues who have decided to take on the fundraising challenge with her.

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“Signing up to do the Macmillan Giants Causeway Mighty Hike is my way of saying thank you not just for the support that we received but also to so many others past, present and future,” adds Rebecca. “Thankfully my friend Kim Hamilton didn’t take much persuading when I asked her if she would be interested in joining me and since then, 14 of the Causeway Hospital Social Work team have also signed up for the half marathon which is amazing.

“Kim and I have a Just Giving page (Rebecca & Kim Go Hiking) as have the Social Work Team and we appreciate all donations large and small. Kim and I have been overwhelmed with the response to the launch of the Just Giving page with friends, family and many anonymous donors taking us over £1,000 in just five days!

“Walking a full marathon is going to be extremely challenging but as always Macmillan have it covered with an information pack and regular emails that take you through everything from the walk itself, training, nutrition, hydration and even what socks to wear!

“I am very much looking forward to June 26 as I step out with pride with my friends and colleagues. Hopefully the beautiful coastline will divert us from aching limbs and sore feet. Maybe my son might even find time to come to cheer us on if he’s not too busy that day!”

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Anyone who is affected by cancer and lives in the Northern Trust area can avail of the Macmillan Information and Support Service. Phone on 028 9442

4000 (ext. 333079) or 077 9584 5435 or email: [email protected]