Shannen-Keelie, of Keyingham, gave birth to Charleen Clifton on July 23rd 2015. Unbeknown to them at the time, Charleen was born with Infantile Fibrosarcoma, diagnosed aged just 3 months after her Grandma noticed a lump on her leg. Infantile Fibrosarcoma is a tissue tumour, with a percentage of 1 individual diagnosed every 4 to 7 years.
Shannen-Keelie described the diagnosis as “crumbling”, her world had fallen apart within seconds. Charleen had various meetings and was put on a 22-week chemotherapy plan in the hope of shrinking the tumour. Christmas 2015 wasn’t a joyous time for the family, separated, as Charleen was just too tired to fight a ‘common cold’, and faced being put in a coma with resuscitation equipment at her bedside should she not improve. Later the chemotherapy caused Charleen to choke on her own vomit and have allergic reactions to sterile wipes; however the chemotherapy was successful and the tumour was shrinking, enough so that doctors felt they were able to operate. On May 16th 2016, Charleen, then aged 10 months, underwent a 6 and half hour operation. Shockingly the tumour turned out to be 7inches long, nearly the full size of her leg.
Shannen-Keelie, expressed how doctors had informed them after the operation that Charleen would take a couple of days to wake up, however when her and her partner Jay were returning only hours later, after getting fresh air, Charleen was sat drinking and Shannen-Keelie knew that Charleen would continue to fight to prove everyone wrong, she was a determined baby girl.
On June 10th 2016, Charleen was told she was in remission and that the surgery was super successful. She now has long curly blonde hair and is a happy 2-year-old girl. Shannen-Keelie expresses that throughout the time of diagnosis and treatment Candlelighters were fantastic, helping the family through the “hardest times of ours and our daughter’s life, sending us on holidays to spend time together as a family and I want other families going through childhood cancer and unfortunately suffering to experience the same support.”
On September 1st 2018, Shannen-Keelie will be shaving her head completely. Fundraising for Candlelighters and donating her hair to The Little Princess Trust. Shannen-Keelie says this fundraiser will be a worthwhile challenge, as a mum, she struggled to see Charleen’s thick jet-black hair turn wispy and ultimately fall out during her treatment.
If you’d like to support Shannen-Keelie you can do so by donating here: https://uk.gofundme.com/hkvfy4-candlelighters
If you’d like to hold your own fundraising challenge in aid of Candlelighters or to find out more please email them on [email protected]