WHEN Margaret Adcock developed a pain in her hip, she went to her GP to get it checked out.
She had just returned from a trip to France and said the pain had left her 'in tears' as it was so severe.
After initially being told the pain was muscular, Margaret, known as Maggie, is facing the reality of just having weeks to live.
But the 17-year-old said she is determined to keep smiling as she battles alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma – one of the most aggressive forms of cancer in children.
Maggie, who lives in Hilton, Derbyshire was given the diagnosis on May 27 last year.
She had chemotherapy to treat it and by Christmas, the disease was under control.
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But just a month later, she started to experience severe headaches, with further tests revealing the cancer had spread to her brain.
She has now been told she could have just weeks or months to live, but despite this she says she 'can get through it'.
"If I can't control my cancer, I can control how I feel. That's how I stay smiling.
"I owe a lot of my willpower to my parents and how they raised me, especially my mum who is big into mindfulness.
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"They are both very calm people and have reminded me to stay hopeful throughout this journey and to never stop fighting," she told DerbyshireLive.
The inspirational teen added that her friends and family never fail to remind her how strong she is.
Throughout her ordeal, Maggie has been supported by her boyfriend Louis.
She said that being in a young relationship with cancer isn't what she imagined, but added that she is grateful to have Louis by her side supporting her.
Maggie first started to show symptoms in April 2022 when returning from her holiday.
What is alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma?
Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of rhabdomyosarcoma which is usually diagnosed in older children, teenagers and young adults, Macmillan Cancer Support states.
It often develops in the large muscles of the arms and legs. It can also develop in the chest or tummy (abdomen), pelvis, and head and neck area.
The symptoms depend of the part of the body that is affected by the age of the person.
Guidance states that symptoms may include:
- a lump that you can see or feel – it may or may not be painful
- a blockage and discharge from the nose
- changes in swallowing or hearing
- a swollen eye, where the eye seems to be pushed forward
- pain in the tummy (abdomen)
- difficulty pooing (constipation)
- blood in your pee (urine) or difficulty peeing
- needing to pee more frequently (in men or boys)
- vaginal discharge (in women or girls).
You should contact your GP if you are worried about any of your symptoms. In the event of an emergency, always call 999.
She was prescribed painkillers, with doctors saying she could be suffering from growing pains.
Within five weeks, Maggie also started to experience nosebleeds and bruising which continuously got worse.
On May 26, she took a turn for the worse and was taken to hospital after her teachers called her parents when she had become unwell.
Mum Lyn called 111 who advised that Maggie needed to be taken to A&E.
She had to have emergency chemotherapy for leukaemia, but after a biopsy was done, medics confirmed the diagnosis ofalveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Now Maggie hopes to spend the time she has left travelling and is also hoping to go back to Paris with boyfriend Louis.
Her family have launched a fundraiser to help pay for treatment which is not currently available on the NHS.
The page reads: "Maggie didn’t qualify for a trial drug, but she started on the standard relapse protocol chemotherapy on 6th Feb 2023.
"There is an option to self-fund the trial drug on top of her chemo regime.
"There is a small chance that this will be beneficial. That very little chance is what gives us hope.
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"We will also explore any open-label trial that is available in the world. We know that in America there has been an open-label trial for positive fusion alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma."
The family said it's their dream that Maggie gets the treatment she deserves.
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