Brave Bolsover mum, 21, delayed cancer treatment to protect baby now given all-clear

A pregnant Bolsover mum who initially delayed her cancer treatment after concerns it could harm her unborn baby, has given birth and received the all clear.

Monday, 9th November 2020, 10:07 am

Ellie Whittaker, 21, from Bolsover, was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin's Lymphoma in October 2019 when she was 16 weeks pregnant with her little girl, Connie Marriott, now eight months.

The 21-year-old who had previously suffered a miscarriage, was determined to carry on with the pregnancy - despite being advised to undergo an abortion.

Medical professionals told Ellie it wasn't safe for her to undergo chemotherapy whilst she was expecting, as the treatment could harm her unborn child.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ellie Whittaker, 21,

The Bolsover mum decided to continue with the pregnancy and give birth before she started chemotherapy - giving the disease the opportunity to develop and get worse.

Ellie’s daughter, Connie, arrived by c-section on 18th March 2020, weighing 6lbs 12oz, at Jessops Wing in Sheffield and a week later a scan revealed that the 21-year-old’s cancer had progressed to stage three.

She then underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy and was finally given the all-clear two weeks after her final scan in October 2020.

Ellie said: “There was no chance on this planet I was going to abort my baby.

“I pushed the cancer as far from my mind and focused on Connie - I couldn’t wait to be a mum.

“One week after giving birth, I went for a scan and discovered it had progressed to stage three.

"I lived with it for so long it's weird that it's finally gone - I can't believe it.

“I don’t regret my decision and I’d make the same one again given the choice."

After suffering a miscarriage in April 2019, the full-time mum started to feel run down and developed a viral infection.

When a lump appeared in her neck, Ellie went to the GP and underwent tests in July 2019.

It was around the same time that the Bolsover mum and her fiancé, Kieran Marriott, 22, found out they were expecting another baby.

She added: “I didn’t know I was pregnant but losing the baby made us realise we were ready to start a family.

“I was so exhausted and catching lots of chest infections - I thought it was down to stress and recently losing my granddad.

“I was so sleepy I accidently fell asleep in a meeting when I worked for the post office.

“When the lump appeared the doctor thought it was tonsillitis but I knew it was something else.”

Ellie was eventually referred to Chesterfield Royal Hospital in August 2019 for a scan and then a biopsy on the lump.

In October 2019, when Ellie was 16 weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin's Lymphoma by the Macmillan Cancer Unit.

“I didn’t have any other symptoms apart from being tired - I couldn’t believe it,” Ellie continued.

“The doctor advised I have an abortion because cancer treatment could cause problems for the baby.

“There was no way I was going to give her up so I chose to delay it.”

Ellie was referred to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital where she was scanned every two weeks until she underwent a planned c-section at 37 weeks.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.