Now a year on from finishing her treatment and doing well, Bethany is over the disappointment of missing out on the trip and along with friends and family is turning her attention to helping the charity which got her through the ordeal.
Bethany worked as a telephone interviewer at Capita and was planning a once in a lifetime trip when she started experiencing back pain. Thinking it was nothing to worry about, she brushed it aside until it became unbearable.
“I had a bit of back pain and dealt with it for quite a while,” said Bethany, of Pontefract Road, Shafton. “It got to the point where it was really painful and my partner forced me to go to the hospital but I was really reluctant to go because I didn’t think I was ill enough.
“I had lots of tests done and nothing came up but I was taken in for a scan because we have a family history of blood clots, so they wanted to make sure it wasn’t a blood clot.”
Bethany had a chest scan where doctors noticed that she had a lump which they believed was on her heart.
“They then conducted a full body scan which showed that I had cancer which they later confirmed was Hodgkin lymphoma.”
Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands throughout the body. Around 2,100 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma each year in the UK and the cancer is more prevalent in people in their early 20s.
Bethany was diagnosed with a stage four cancer which meant that the cancer had spread from her lymphatic system into another part of her body.
“My cancer spread into my bones, blood and spine,” said Bethany. “I had cancer from head to toe.
“When they told me I had cancer I just said ‘well it is what it is, let’s get on with it’. No-one expects to have cancer when they are 21.
“I was mostly annoyed that I couldn’t go on my holiday to Australia.”
Bethany underwent chemotherapy twice a month for six months, which ended on May 4 last year.
“I was tired all the time while I was having chemo,” said Bethany. “I tried to keep going to the gym to keep my fitness up because I was on steroids that make you swell.
“But it was really difficult because I was tired all the time and I had blisters in my mouth which made it painful to eat.
“I had some tests when I finished my last chemo session and was told I had responded really well to the treatment so I am in remission.”
Bethany found out about a charity called Shine Cancer Support which offers help and support for people aged 20 to 40 who are suffering with cancer.
“With the groups, I felt that I could open up a lot more about how I was feeling because everyone else was going through the same things as I was,” said Bethany. “The help from Shine is catered to people who have suffered cancer at a young age so I’ve made friends there.”
In recognition of the help Bethany received from Shine, Bethany along with her sister, Gemma and two friends, Emma and Francesca are organising a charity event which will raise money for Shine and Meningitis UK.
They are appealing for raffle prizes to be donated to be auctioned off on the night in October.
If you would like to donate a raffle prize contact Bethany on firstname.lastname@example.org.