Upon attending the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, Morven and her parents found out the devastating news that a lump in her neck was a rare strain of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that was actually not aggressive but quite slow-growing.
Mum, Fiona Armstrong – an employee at Morrisons in Airdrie – said: “Morven was so brave. Despite being told this news, she had a wonderful time over Christmas."
Diagnostics and treatment
Through late December 2016 and most of January 2017, Morven underwent a series of diagnostic scans to assess the extent of her cancer. She had PET, MRI, CAT and ultrasound scans, which showed the cancer had started in Morven’s chest, spread to her neck, where lumps had appeared, and then to her stomach. The location of the cancer in her neck meant surgery was not an option, so she started a grueling course of chemotherapy – with six cycles planned.
“Morven began to lose her hair soon after the first chemo treatment and by the time of her second chemo treatment it was falling out in handfuls. At this time it was decided to shave off the remainder of her hair. Surely, this would be devastating for a young lady to have no hair, but no, Morven loved it!”
Support from CLIC Sargent
Throughout Morven’s treatment, the family was supported by CLIC Sargent. A CLIC Sargent outreach nurse, Karen Marshall, helped by giving routine care, such as changing dressings at home, so the family didn’t have to travel to hospital every time. Sean Duggan, their CLIC Sargent social worker was also on hand to offer emotional support.
Fiona said: “We are grateful for the support of Sean and Karen from CLIC Sargent. From our first visit to the hospital, Sean has always been available for support, advice and guidance. He gave us information about all the different benefits which we are entitled to, made lots of home visits to see how we were getting on and helped us secure grants from other companies."
“Karen helped Morven overcome her fear of tablets, delivered Morven’s medicine and was always just there for me when I needed someone to talk to. CLIC Sargent are invaluable for families like ours facing cancer.”
End of treatment bell
Morven continued with chemotherapy for four cycles, with three weeks between to recover. But by the end of the fourth cycle, her consultant revealed the results were so positive that she didn’t need further treatment.
“On May 18, 2017, Dr Chalmers shared the fantastic news that the MRI scan results were clear and that no further chemo treatment would be required” added Fiona. “We were so happy and proud of our girl who remained upbeat throughout her ordeal. Throughout the course of her scans and chemo treatment Morven was determined to attend school as much as possible. Indeed, it was to the surprise and delight of many that Morven’s school attendance was so high during this time.”
Morven rang the end of treatment bell at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow on June 22, 2017. In December she joined 11 other children with experience of cancer to film ‘Jingle Bells’ – the Morrisons and CLIC Sargent Christmas message based on the End of Treatment Bell.
Read more stories of children and young people who have been helped by our partnership with Morrisons.