Kayleigh Terry calls her son, Dante, an “impossible” baby. The young mum, from Warrington, says looks at him every day thinking he “shouldn't be here”.
Five years ago, at age 19, Kayleigh developed a swollen belly and crippling stomach pains. At first, everyone thought she was pregnant. But when tests showed no baby, doctors went looking for another cause. They found a melon-sized tumour.
The teenager had Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer that usually attacks bones. In her case, it was growing in the soft tissues of the abdomen instead and pushing vital organs aside. The medics' response was to admit Kayleigh to hospital immediately.
Treating the disease would come at a cost. Doctors warned it would “kill her fertility” and that extracting eggs, to freeze them for future use, would take at least six weeks. It became a choice, Kayleigh says, between having children and having a life because the consultant did not believe she would survive six weeks left untreated. She chose to start treatment but feared “everything” was “over” no matter what she did.
Months of chemotherapy and surgery followed, and Kayleigh beat the disease. She and her fiancé, Adam, felt lucky to be together even if they could not have children. Today, though, the couple are parents thanks what she calls “a little miracle”.
The moment the pregnancy test came back positive, Kayleigh screamed with delight and burst into tears. Her message for others fighting cancer is simple, yet powerful: “The impossible can happen. It's happened to me.”