Young Cancer Patient Receives Top Sports Award

image001A patient in the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at University Hospital of Wales was surprised to receive a motocross championship award, after her illness left her too unwell to attend the ceremony.

Twenty-one year old Tanisha Thomas, from Cardigan, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, a type of cancer, just weeks after her victory at the Scott Amateur National MX Championship. She was the overall winner in the Ladies category, making her the competition’s first female Welsh winner. The previous champion had held the title for seven consecutive years.

During the competition, which saw her compete in nine events across the UK and Ireland, Tanisha started to experience severe pain in her spine. Just two weeks after the final in September she started to lose the feeling in her legs, leading to the removal of a tumour on her spine, which has now left her wheelchair-bound. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and started receiving treatment.

Tanisha’s father, Carl Thomas, supported Tanisha during the competition. He said, “She’s been fighting for this award through the pain. She deserves this. This is huge.”

Despite her diagnosis, Tanisha had hoped to attend the awards ceremony in Birmingham on 31 October 2015. However, she commenced chemotherapy treatment just weeks before the event, leaving her vulnerable to infection.

The event organisers worked with Tanisha’s family and, on Friday 6 November, surprised Tanisha by arriving at the ward with her prize, including a makeshift podium. An overwhelmed Tanisha was cheered on by hospital staff, other patients and family members as she was helped out of her wheelchair by her father, to sit on the podium and claim her prize.

A tearful Tanisha said, “I didn’t suspect anything. I was gutted when I couldn’t make the ceremony.”

Tanisha is currently on a six-month course of chemotherapy and will also need physiotherapy, as it may take some time for her to learn to walk properly again.

A Go Fund Me campaign has been set up, to help Tanisha’s family fund their hospital visits. All funds raised will help towards travel costs for the 2 hour drive between Cardiff and Cardigan, as well as overnight stays.

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