Co Antrim mum-of-two says she fighting back after terminal diagnosis with very rare form of cancer

Jennifer Blaney with her two children Brogan and Payton
-Credit: (Image: Submitted)

A Co Antrim mum says she's not prepared to go anywhere after being given two years to live due to a devastating cancer diagnosis.

Jennifer Blaney from Ballyclare, who turns 32 this Sunday, is a single mother with two young children. She has a very rare form of cancer called a synovial sarcoma. Despite being in pain for many months, her condition wasn't thought to be cancer until after an operation earlier this year.

Now as she faces her worst possible. nightmare, Jennifer's family and friends are raising money to get her the lifesaving surgery and treatment she desperately needs for her to be around to watch her children grow up.

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She told Belfast Live: "I've never really been sick but last but I used to have a pain in my lower back that would come and go. Last December it started to get really intense and I couldn't take the pain so I was back and forth to the doctors who said it could be a number of things.

"By January I was in a lot of pain and nothing was taking it away and if anything it was getting worse. At that point I was reflagged for an X-Ray which showed up a 12cm mass in my pelvis. From then on it was all systems go in terms of MRIs, CTs and numerous hospital appointments. I was referred from Antrim to Belfast City Hospital because it was going to be such a complex operation."

Jennifer had her operation on April 10th with a warning beforehand that her symptoms might be due to a calcified fibroid bur could also be cancer: "Through the surgery, I had a full hysterectomy and stoma bag so what was supposed to be a three hour operation turned out to be seven hours. Four weeks after my surgery I found out that it was in fact a very rare form of cancer.

"I was diagnosed with stage 3 synovial sarcoma, which was 12 cm in size. I had been in pain for quite some time before my operation and my quality of life for the past year has been really bad. But never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be cancer. It was such a shock as I had been feeling so well after the surgery and more like myself again."

Having been given 18-24 months to live, Jennifer says she's just not prepared to go anywhere yet
Having been given 18-24 months to live, Jennifer says she's just not prepared to go anywhere yet -Credit:Submitted

Fast forward 12 weeks and Jennifer was told she has another tumour close to where the first one was originally found. She is due to start chemotherapy shortly but is already looking at other lifesaving options overseas.

"I've been told that they won't operate again as it's so soon after the last surgery and that was a very messy job so I can only have chemotherapy as a palliative measure. There's only a 40% chance it will work and I might not be strong enough for it and it could just make me more ill. But surgery is the first port of call for dealing with this as I need this tumour removed and I know that there are surgeons who are willing to do it."

At the weekend, Jennifer's older sister Lisa McMullan started an online fundraiser in order to get her life-saving surgery and treatment. It has already raised over £30,000 since its launch on Saturday.

She said: "Her condition wasn't thought to be cancer until after the operation. As a family we are absolutely devastated and desperately need to get her across the water. Jennifer's time is precious right now. We need to get her over as soon as possible. Please please help us get her the treatment she needs. This money is for surgery, treatment and travel costs."

As Jennifer embarks on her hardest journey, a battle with cancer, uppermost in her mind are her two children - 13-year daughter Brogan and young son Payton, aged seven.

"I have been given 18-24 months to live and I'm just not prepared to go anywhere yet. I'm not sitting down and taking it when I know there's other things that can be done. I have two young children and I need to be here for them," she added.

Please click this link to donate to the fundraiser for Jennifer.

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