A YOUNG mum who had her womb removed after finding out she had cervical cancer is urging people to help tackle the devastating loss of cancer research funding caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Vanessa Meeks, 26, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in April last year after doctors found tumours in two separate parts of her cervix.

The mum-of-one from Burnley, whose cancer was discovered following her very first smear test, was advised to undergo a radical hysterectomy to remove her womb, fallopian tubes, cervix and lymph nodes.

She said: “Last year I booked in for my first cervical screening appointment.

“I didn’t feel worried about it at the time and just got on with my day once it was over.”

Not long after though she was called back for further tests, including a biopsy of her cervix to check the area for signs of cancer.

Miss Meeks continued: “Before the consultant had even sat down, I knew in my gut that he was going to say it was cancer. But when the words actually came out of his mouth, I didn’t feel like it was real.

“My first thought was for my daughter Isabella, as she was only three at the time.

“It was also around the anniversary of Jade Goody’s death from cervical cancer, and I found it unbelievable that I was now experiencing what she went through as a young mum.

“I knew that having a full radical hysterectomy would mean I’d never be able to have more children naturally but there are so many things you can do these days with adoption and surrogacy. I just wanted to get rid of the cancer as quickly as possible.”

In June last year she had the operation to remove her womb at Royal Preston Hospital and was kept in for a week.

She said: “While I was waiting for the operation I felt very low and depressed. That was probably the worst time of all.”

Thankfully Miss Meeks is now cancer-free and has recently completed a degree in primary school teaching.

She said: “When I look back, the whole experience feels surreal.

“I still have a big scar across my belly which will always be a reminder.

“Last year’s storyline on Coronation Street with Sinead Tinker being re-diagnosed with cervical cancer after going through chemotherapy and getting the all clear is like facing my worst fear.

“I’m slowly getting back to being a working mum again and loving every minute, knowing that I won’t ever take life for granted.”

As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, £44m in research funding has been cut by Cancer Research UK. Fundraising events which bring in more than £160m a year have also been cancelled.

Miss Meeks has now vowed to help the charity by highlighting the threat the funding gap poses to future breakthroughs for cancer patients.

To view the film and show your support visit youtu.be/kofEw--toCE.