A HEALTHCARE assistant who battled an aggressive form of breast cancer has appealed to people to help her raise funds for a natural hair wig after losing hers through treatment.
Vanessa Price, from Rednal, has worked at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital for the past ten years but in September 2018 was diagnosed with the disease.
She said: “I’ve always loved looking after people – it’s what I’ve always done but at that point the tables were turned and I was suddenly the one needing the care.”
Vanessa said her body had not felt right and it was only the quick action of Dr Zia Noor at Cofton Medical Centre who referred her straight to the hospital she had worked at.
“I was on shift when I popped down for the scan and it was at this point my world was turned upside down.
“Hearing those words – that I had cancer, a fast growing tumour and they needed to act fast was terrifying.”
Vanessa, who was placed under the care of Dr Nick Purser, then underwent six months of chemotherapy at the hospital’s Garden Suite to try and shrink the tumour.
But in January 2019 she was dealt a further blow – it had spread to her lymph nodes and her liver.
“I always used to say ‘my boxing gloves are on’ and my colleagues at the Alex, my friends and family all kept me going.”
She also thanked the charity Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer for their ‘amazing’ help.
The organisation provided her with real hair wigs in the past.
“I’m so grateful to our wonderful NHS – without it I would not be here.”
After another six months of gruelling chemotherapy she was transferred to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital Cancer Centre where she is still a patient under consultant Naren Basu and oncologist Andrea Stevens.
There she has undergone a mastectomy, liver resection and had some of her lymph nodes cleared.
Her outlook is brighter following the treatment.
In September 2019 Vanessa returned to work on the ward she was previously based, telling staff ‘there may be bits of me missing but at least I’m here’.
Vanessa, who is unable to work currently because of the risk of contracting Coronavirus, is hoping to raise £1,000 for the natural hair wig.
She has developed chemo alopecia which means her hair will not grow back properly.
She said: “I was devastated when I found out but I’ve never made a secret of wearing a wig.”
Her son Joshua, four, always asks if he can ‘fetch mummy’s hair for her’.
“A real hair wig would make such a difference to my life.
“I would be grateful for any help people can give.”