Caitlan, 13, from Newcastle
Caitlan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006 after a protracted, four-month process of regular trips to the doctor having been assumed to be suffering from glandular fever because of the lump in her neck. Caitlan has an identical twin, Chloe, from whom she had never been separated until her diagnosis. The girls’ mother, Dawn, recalls this as one of the most difficult aspects of Caitlan’s cancer journey.
She said: “It affected every family member, but the biggest impact was on Chloe. They were only six when Caitlan was diagnosed and having been inseparable for so long, they were forced apart which was really tough. Chloe was very mature about it and got on with things as best she could, and continued to do well at school. Also, with Caitlan losing all her hair it was hard for everyone to see the growing physical differences between the girls."
“We met Maureen, our CLIC Sargent Social Worker, a day after Caitlan was diagnosed. She was absolutely lovely and a breath of fresh air from the minute we met. It sounds silly but you need to be able to smile through these things and Maureen helped us do that – she was an absolute tower of strength."
“She was fantastic with Chloe as well – she included her in everything. She would bring her onto the ward and hold sibling days to make sure they all knew what was going on. If Caitlan was ever given a toy or a treat, Chloe would have one too. Maureen would always make sure the kids were all getting the same attention through Caitlan’s treatment, which was crucially important."
“Caitlan absolutely adores Maureen – she always goes to see her when we go in for check-ups and she always drops her a present off at Christmas. Nowadays Caitlan is a very lively 13-year-old. Her and Chloe went straight back into their normal relationship after her treatment finished, and they still look very similar despite all that Caitlan has been through. Other people still get them muddled up, but we don’t!”