Stutton: Brave Sam Whitby, 17, overcomes brain tumour and ovarian cancer
16:24 17 June 2014
Brave Sam Whitby has had more obstacles to overcome in her life than other teenagers.
The 17-year-old was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove the growth, subsequently making a full recovery.
But last year the courageous student was dealt another blow when she was told she had ovarian cancer. “I thought ‘here we go again’,” Sam, a student at One sixth form centre in Ipswich, said.
“I knew I had to just think about getting through it again. I beat the brain tumour and knew I could win again.”
Sam, who lives in Stutton with parents Michelle and Douglas and two-year-old brother Kelan, was just 12 years old when she was old she had a brain tumour.
She added: “I had suffered from a lot of headaches and tiredness. My GP referred me to a paediatrician at hospital and from there I was sent for brains can which showed the growth.
“I had to have an operation to have the tumour removed. At 12 years old I think I just accepted it and put all my focus on getting through it.
“It’s been a very tough journey.”
But last September, she was sent to the Emergency Department at Ipswich Hospital suffering from debilitating abdominal pains and bloating.
After a series of tests, it was confirmed that Sam had ovarian cancer.
She underwent four gruelling rounds of chemotherapy between September and November last year at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and was given the all-clear a few months ago but still has to have regular tests and scans.
Sam’s illnesses has resulted in her school work being pushed back a year.
While her friends will soon be celebrating the end of their A-level exams, Sam will be preparing to start her A-level year in September.
“I’m starting my A2 year in September but all my friends are leaving and it’s frustrating that I’ve got to start again.
“I’ll be studying for A-levels in psychology, ancient history and graphic communications.”
She is hoping to go to university and eventually become a history teacher.
Having returned to One, Sam organised a fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent where staff and students were encouraged to pay money to wear wigs, hats and create unusual hairstyles.
“If it hadn’t been for the Teenage Cancer Trust, I would have been in a ward with adults at Addenbrooke’s and this would have made a difficult situation even more difficult.
“Teenagers fundraising for charities like this have been in the news recently because of the amazing efforts of Stephen Sutton. He was an inspirational figure and showed everyone the importance of the power of positive thought – no matter what the circumstances.”