Imogen Selvester was rushed to Queen’s Hospital in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, earlier this month after she fell ill and “turned yellow”.
The 12-year-old from Tamworth, Staffordshire, had been experiencing itchy skin, night sweats, tiredness and even turned “grey in the face” in the lead up to her diagnosis.
Doctors had previously likened her symptoms, including lumps in her neck, to a viral infection.
The youngster also caught Covid just weeks after her initial appointment with her GP in February meaning she was unable to get checked again until she was cleared.
After her symptoms failed to clear, the GP requested an appointment for Imogen to be seen at the hospital – however the family were told this could take months.
On 6 June concerned mum Natalie Bloxham, 34, rushed Imogen for an emergency appointment with her GP after Imogen turned jaundice.
She was rushed to Queen’s Hospital where X-rays showed a cluster of tumours around the youngster’s heart.
She was later diagnosed with stage three cancer Hodgkin lymphoma and has since been undergoing chemotherapy.
Speaking today, Natalie said: “I took her to the GP as soon as I noticed [lumps in neck] and they advised it could be viral and to wait three weeks.
“I waited three weeks and in that time Imogen caught Covid.
“When the GP called back they advised me Covid could irritate them to wait even further. Then they referred her for a hospital appointment.
“The GP said they sent it through as urgent but when I spoke to the hospital they changed it to routine and would take three months for an appointment.
“We then went on holiday to Greece. I wanted Imogen to have a good time as she hadn’t been herself for a while.
“Then when we came back I would try and chase up her appointment.
“We flew back on 24 May.
“Imogen turned yellow, had a temperature of 40 and had funny coloured urine.
“I called the doctors first thing on 6 June who saw her straight away.
“They confirmed she had jaundice and needed to go to paediatrics at Queen Hospital in Burton on Trent.
“They tried to blame Imogen having Covid for her symptoms of jaundice until they did a chest X-ray.
“This is where they found a cluster of tumours around her heart that were crushing her windpipe.”
The following day Imogen was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Natalie said: “She had a full CT scan which confirmed she had stage three Hodgkin lymphoma.
“It was crushing her heart and windpipe. She went down for a biopsy on her lump on her neck.
“She also had some bone marrow taken for tests and a central line put in for chemotherapy.
“Imogen had five days of intense chemo as well as steroids to help shrink the tumours.
“It’s been once a week up until Tuesday 28 June which is where Imogen’s due to have a two week break.
“We have been told Imogen is at high risk of infections and she has started to lose her hair.
“Hodgkin lymphoma is easily treatable, it’s a 90% success rate so as a family are holding on to this.”
Doctors told Natalie that her daughter’s fertility could be affected by the treatment.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare cancer which develops through a network of vessels and glands spread throughout the body called the lymphatic system.
The cancer most commonly affects people between 20 and 40 but only 2,100 people are diagnosed in the UK each year.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Imogen’s family by a friend after mum-of-one Natalie was forced to leave her role as a carer to look after her daughter.
To donate, please visit https://gofund.me/3ffaeade