SHE was told that cancer treatment may have left her infertile – but 21 years later Renata Muncey is mum to a “miracle baby”.
The 43-year-old suffered three heartbreaking pregnancy losses before she had her son Theo.
And now she is backing a Cancer Research UK campaign as she says that without breakthroughs in treatment, she may not have survived.
Renata, from Moortown, Leeds, said: “Theo was born on June 24, 2013, just before my 42nd birthday.
“I am so happy to be blessed with a child at this stage in my life and am proud to have come through my experience.
“It’s thanks to research into cancer that Theo and I are here today so I urge people in Leeds to Stand Up To Cancer to help save more lives.”
She was 22 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer of the lymphatic system.
“I was a happy go-lucky young woman with a good job, good friends and a good life. But then everything changed when one weekend whilst at my grandparents I sneezed and my nanna noticed a lump in my neck,” she said.
Tests revealed Hodgkin’s disease, a diagnosis which left her “completely shell-shocked”.
Renata underwent a six-month course of chemotherapy but was warned a possible side effect could be infertility – a devastating blow.
“I was determined not to let my diagnosis or treatment affect my life, so I continued to work full-time, having just two days off a week to attend hospital for treatment, and taking 28 tablets a day,” she said.
“But within three weeks I had completely lost my hair and I realised that I couldn’t physically carry on with my part-time degree course as well as working so had to leave.”
Eventually, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and signed off work. Her treatment continued with radiotherapy, and since then she has been cancer-free.
Despite thinking she was infertile, in 2012 – aged 40 – she discovered she was pregnant.
However she suffered a miscarriage followed by a second miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy.
On her fourth pregnancy she went on to have Theo, who she calls her “miracle baby” and now she and her son are supporting the Stand Up To Cancer campaign.
Lisa Millett, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Yorkshire, said: “We are calling on everyone in Leeds to join Renata and Theo and stand up to this terrible disease.”
STAND UP TO CANCER
Every hour of every day, 76 people in Yorkshire are diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer Research UK’s Stand Up To Cancer is urging supporters to generate funds and raise awareness to help boost research.
The March on Cancer next Saturday (March 11) will see people across the country join forces for the cause, including in Sheffield. On October 17, stars including Davina McCall and Alan Carr will appear in a live TV fundraising evening on Channel 4. For information, and to buy fundraising merchandise, log on to www.standuptocancer.org.uk.