A RETIRED nurse who is receiving cancer treatment has been inundated with letters from friends, family and wellwishers.

Linda Robinson, 71, from Blackburn has had a T-cell transplant at Manchester Royal Infirmary and may have to stay in hospital over the festive season to recover.

Her daughter Hettie Beetham, 45, has organised for her friends and family to send her a letter a day while she is in hospital to lift her spirits.

Linda is an avid letter writer and Hettie and her mother write back and forth regularly, sparking the idea.

Linda’s friends and family loved the idea and they organised a rota meaning at least one person is writing to Linda every day.

She has already received about 30 letters so far, with some even being sent from her nieces in America and her cousin in Cyprus.

Hettie added: “Everyone who is writing has come back to me and said ‘I haven’t written a letter for years’ and ‘I have got to go and buy stamps’.

“My mum has always been that person, she writes to everyone, she writes at least six letters a day and she is always writing to cheer people up.

“It’s lovely, she has written so many letters to us over the years and it’s really giving back to this ex-nurse who is extremely caring and kind.”

Before retiring, Linda, who lives in Pleckgate, was a nurse for 41 years at Queen’s Park Hospital and Blackburn Royal Infirmary, before spending over a decade with East Lancashire Hospice treating cancer patients.

She was diagnosed with non-hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, in the summer of last year.

She received chemotherapy at Royal Blackburn Hospital before ringing the bell on New Year's Eve 2019, one day after her 71st birthday.

In February, Linda was told that, although the cancer had reduced, it had not disappeared meaning she had to receive further chemotherapy. As it continued during lockdown, Linda had to attend sessions alone.

Hettie added: “The only worst thing than your mum being on chemo is your mum being on chemo and you can’t take her.”

She was then offered a bone marrow transplant in the summer but they discovered that Linda’s tumour was too large for the treatment.

She was then offered a newer treatment, CAR T-cell therapy, but doctors discovered that her tumour was too small for the treatment.

Hettie added: “My poor mum, it was too big for the bone marrow transplant and too small for the T-cell transplant.

“They left her alone for six weeks and we were weirdly hoping that the tumour would grow. It's not what you would normally hope for or pray for but that was really our only hope to get treatment.”

Luckily for Linda and her family, the tumour grew to the size for the treatment to be possible, meaning doctors took her T-cells in October.

Linda’s T-cells were sent to a lab in Texas to be modified to then recognise and attack the cancer cells once back in the body.

The changes they make in the lab mean that they can stay in your body for long periods of time, recognising and attacking the specific cancer cells. As it is a new treatment, researchers are still looking into how long they might stay in the body.