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Mother's heartbreaking reaction to daughter's cancer diagnosis shows eye-opening reality of the disease

Abigail, now 13, was diagnosed when she was 12

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Bridie Wilkins
Senior Health & Fitness Writer
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Sarah, Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie are fronting HELLO!'s Christmas appeal, raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust. As part of the campaign, the royals met young cancer patients and their family members who have been supported by Teenage Cancer Trust's specialist units, and one particular story proves just how important it is to support the charity.

WATCH: HELLO's Christmas appeal with Teenage Cancer Trust

Abigail was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 12 years old. She's being treated in a Teenage Cancer Trust unit at UCLH and is expected to finish maintenance treatment in April 2013. She says her time in the unit helped her. "When I was moved to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit, I made friends with other young people on my bay and with my nurses and Youth Support Coordinators.


"I had Karl as one of my Youth Support Coordinators and he was great. When I was sad about losing my hair, he sat down with me and told me what to expect. He reassured me that it would grow back."

Abigail's mother Lara had her own journey. "She was showing symptoms around Christmas time," Lara said. "Maybe just before that. And we didn't know, but we knew something was not quite right. We hadn't said anything to her, and then she officially got diagnosed. I think it was like the ninth of January.

"It was quite scary, having to sort of hold it in and not show her how I felt. That was hard. We knew something was not right. Things just weren't adding up. I'd Google. Then I'd walk the dog and cry and cry, because that was the only time I could cry about it.

"You just know, I don’t know how, but mums just know. Mums just know when something isn't quite right."

SEE: Sarah Ferguson, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie launch HELLO!'s Christmas appeal

MORE: Sarah Ferguson shares moving statement about teenage cancer

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Abigail and her mother Lara

Speaking of the moment she found out she had cancer, Abigail, now 13, said: "When I first got diagnosed, the first question I asked was, 'Well, is it, is it curable?' And they said, 'Yeah, it's completely curable.' And I sat there and I thought, well, I can either sit here and I can freak out and I can cry and I can panic, or I can think it's curable. And that's the most important thing.

"And I thought there's no point wasting all these tears on something that's getting better. And so, some days I saw it as just like a bad infection and something that will go away. And it will just be like, like, a bad dream, just a small chapter of my life. And then other days I wake up and I think I can't believe it. Like, I actually have leukaemia. It's a big thing and some days it's scary, but I try really, really hard to look at the positives that come out of it."

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Sarah, Beatrice and Eugenie are patrons of Teenage Cancer Trust

She concluded: "It wasn’t fun at all as even my mum wasn’t allowed out. The nurses all had to dress up in Covid safety gear when they came in to see me and we couldn’t have any other visitors.

 "My nurses and Youth Support Coordinators helped me and my mum get through it, and I know Teenage Cancer Trust will be there to support me over the festive season this year too.

 "Please donate to the HELLO! and Teenage Cancer Trust Christmas appeal. I hope all young people like me get the support they need this Christmas, and in the future."

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