A brave teenager battling stage 4b cancer has spoken about the moment she was told that she had the illness.

Leannah Patel, 15 who has undergone four months of gruelling chemotherapy said she also wanted to share her experiences with other young people and urged them not to ignore the signs of the debilitating disease.

She said:“I just think a lot of people, especially people my age don’t see the signs.

"We think it is nothing but it always best to get things checked out. If you see a lump and it does not hurt when pressed it could be dangerous.”

Leannah said she tried to see the doctor when she noticed a lump in her neck on February 21 this year.

But her concerns were dismissed by her local GP via the receptionist, as the GP would not allow an appointment or even take the call, advising "it was nothing of concern".

She said: “I told my mum there was a lump in my neck. She asked me if it hurt and I said ‘no’. She then became concerned.

“We called the GP and he told us, through the receptionist, that because she didn’t have a temperature ‘not to worry’. 

“My mum was not satisfied and decided to call 111 and they told us to go to urgent care in Chorley”. 

Lancashire Telegraph:

Leannah as she was first taken in an ambulance between hospitals and receiving treatment in the months that passed

Leannah was sent to Royal Preston Hospital, where she was admitted straight away and after blood tests, an X-Ray and a CT scan she was later transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital for more tests. 

Leannah said: “It all happened so quickly. And it was a lot to take in.”

Within five days of first visiting the hospital on February 21 the family was told that Leannah had Stage 4b Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Leannah said: “When I got the news it was like my whole body just lost all happiness. I was completely overwhelmed.

“But then later I thought - I have to fight this. I have to fight this and beat it.”

Her mum Rehana, who was involved in a horror crash 19 years ago which she barely survived, said the news has led to a "black cloud" being over the family which has thankfully dispersed.

She told of how she was inspired at how her daughter had reacted.

Rehana said: “She has been so brave and she remains so positive.

"It is so inspiring to see. She is a real warrior and is determined to beat it. It is not something would wish on anyone "

“People don’t understand what an effect it can have on everyone’s lives. I just went into autopilot as I thought I have to be there for everyone. I do get emotional but I stop myself from crying.

“At the hospital you see the parents and the children and everyone is in the same boat. There are babies and there are teenagers. Everyone has their own story to tell.

“The staff at Manchester Children’s Hospital have been wonderful as have the McMillan nurses, Andrea Stevenson and her Oncology doctor, Dr Anthony Penn and surgeons.

"Leannah has also been in and out of Royal Blackburn children's ward due to side effects of the chemo.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

With brother-in-law Salman who also shaved his head

The treatment for her cancer has led to Leannah losing her hair, suffered aches, terrible pains, skin pigmentations and extremely painful ulcers that made her scream. She was never on any medication or rarely got ill until she was diagnosed.

Leannah is the youngest of four and has two older brothers and a sister Hennah. 

Hennah, 26, said: “She is due to have six cycles of chemotherapy and is now on her fourth month.

“She had undertaken a number of tests and each one has been really tough. A PET scan showed all the areas of her body the cancer had spread to. It was all over her body.

“I recollect when we saw this she squeezed my hand so much.

“It has been really tough but she has been really positive and the recent tests have shown that the treatment is working.

“We got told that being younger means there is more chance she can fight this.

“When we discussed the illness with the doctor we got told that she may have had it up to one year prior to her diagnosis. But the doctors told us the lump was the first visible symptom and we couldn't have known beforehand. So, it was thankful we discovered it now.”

Leannah is a Year 10 pupil at St Wilfrids C. E. High School. 

Rehana added: “I can’t fault the school in any way. They have been extremely helpful during the whole situation and we are really thankful for their support, especially assistant principal Mr Ashman who has maintained contact continuously and every single one of Leannah's teachers.

“They have allowed her to attend school when she wants and stayed in touch regularly.

“Her school house team 'Exeter' has also been so wonderful.”

Leannah said: “I have been to school for only two hours at a time and my friends and the teachers have been so supportive.”

Mr Ashman, assistant Principal at St Wilfrid’s said the school had been keen to assist wherever possible.

He said: “As a school we want to be able to help Leannah if she, where ever possible, wishes to attend her classes or meet her friends.

“The great thing is that Leannah is so strong and resilient. She has been positive throughout and this is a credit to her.

“The school wants to help pupils in whatever circumstances they may be in.”