Lucy da Costa was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 11 months old. Now aged 19, she is taking part in the 2017 London Marathon, raising money for CLIC Sargent, which supported her family. Here, she tells her story.
“I went through my childhood living with the aftermath of having a brain tumour.
“I’d been quite ill for a few weeks and I was having mini seizures, but my mum didn’t realise what was going on. She kept taking me to hospital and they thought it was a virus that would settle down.
“One Sunday evening my mum was really worried about it and took me in again. They thought I had meningitis and were about to do a lumbar puncture, but sent me for a CT scan first, which is when they discovered the tumour and I was operated on for eight hours that night.
“Following the surgery I had 56 weeks of chemotherapy up until I was two years old.
“After my treatment I had regular MRIs, every month to begin with and then they reduced it to every two or three months.
"After a while, when they kept coming back clear, they gradually moved them further apart. Now I haven’t had one for about four of five years.
“When fertility was first mentioned to me I was about 11 and I definitely felt too young to be thinking about it at the time. I found the conversation quite traumatic and it was quite hard for me to take it all in because I didn’t really know what to think or how to react.
“I had high doses of chemotherapy, so the doctors don’t know how much my ovaries have been damaged at the moment. I had a blood test which told me that my egg reserve was normal but they can’t say for sure that I won’t go through the menopause 10 or 20 years before other people.
“Possibly not being able to have children is just something that I’ve come to accept because if I didn’t have the initial treatment I wouldn’t be here now.
CLIC Sargent support
“My parents told me that CLIC Sargent helped my family a lot while I was having treatment. They helped us to have a family holiday and I’ve been told that getting away for a week and having some family time together was such a relief for both of them.
“The support from CLIC Sargent makes the whole cancer experience easier for patients and their families.
“I really felt like I wanted to do something a bit different and raise money for CLIC Sargent after hearing all the stories of how the charity helped my family when I was ill.
"I started running a bit and one day just thought ‘why don’t I do the London Marathon?’, it came to me just like that, it was kind of on a whim.
“I’m definitely not a natural runner but I really enjoy it, so hopefully that will help keep my motivation going. I’m training myself to get better and I can slowly see improvements.
“I’m a bit nervous about the day. I know I’ll definitely finish, even if I have to walk nothing will stop me. I’ll be thinking about all the things so many people have done to help me over the years and thinking about all the other little kids like me who just need some hope. It gives me so much motivation thinking about helping all those other people.”
Find out more
To sponsor Lucy and help her raise money for CLIC Sargent, visit her official JustGiving page.