They are the four words a parent never wants to hear ‘your child has cancer.’ A 9 year old from Ballycotton who has beaten cancer has helped others by donating 14 inches of hair to the Rapunzel foundation.
In the 6 years since Teagan Wilson’s diagnosis with childhood Leukaemia, the Primary school student has never cut her hair until now. Leukaemia a Cancer of the blood, is caused by the rise in the number of white blood cells. It weakens the immune system and is the most common cancer in children.
Teagan a student at Scoil Realt Na Mara National School, Ballycotton had been ill for some time before the diagnosis, but nothing suggested a life threatening disease. Her mother Davina Long said it took a number of visits to hospital and GP’s with crippling pain before her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. She said she was fobbed off by medics who dismissed the pain as a viral infection or juvenile arthritis as Teagan did not show the typical signs of leukaemia.
By the time Teagan was diagnosed on 1 February 2014, she was put on a course of chemotherapy lasting every day for two years and two months.
“They said if she had not been diagnosed she would have had two weeks to live or if she fell in the school yard that she’d have bled to death because of the distance to the hospital” Davina tells the East Cork Journal.
Within six weeks the youngster lost her hair as a result of the treatments and in the process developed a heart condition.
The extreme treatment also led to Teagan developing the potentially life threatening condition sepsis and the collapse of one of her lungs.
Recently the third class student decided to lose her locks to the charity, that provides real hair wigs to children who have lost their own through a cancer treatment or other illness.
“You would never know that she was sick” said Ms Long “if you saw her now you’d have to guess who was the sick one among all the kids.”