Mum who survived grapefruit sized tumour celebrates £1m milestone

Samantha Burn, a store supervisor at The Works in Fakenham.

Samantha Burn, a store supervisor at The Works in Fakenham shed tears of joy as the company’s fundraising for Cancer Research UK hit its £1 million milestone. - Credit: Mark Hewlett

A Norfolk mum has a million reasons to be happy as the company she works for passed a fund-raising milestone.

Samantha Burn, a store supervisor at The Works in Fakenham, shed tears of joy as the company’s fund-raising for Cancer Research UK hit its £1 million milestone in May as part of their fund-raising activities.

The 43-year-old was overjoyed at the thought of the number of lives this money could save after surviving the disease 17 years ago.

The Works in Fakenham. Picture: THE WORKS

The Works in Fakenham. Picture: THE WORKS - Credit: Archant

“It means so much to me to think of all the lives that will be touched and changed by our fundraising, and the huge contribution we are making to cancer research," she said.

When she was pregnant with her daughter Amy, her size ballooned from 14 to 22, unknown to anyone, the unborn baby was competing for space in her womb with a cervical tumour the size of a grapefruit.


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She was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, twelve weeks after giving birth.

Miller's Walk in Fakenham, where the incident took place.

Miller's Walk in Fakenham - Credit: Archant

“My midwife used to joke that I would give birth to the world’s biggest baby but no one seemed unduly alarmed,” she said.

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“When Amy was born it was a very difficult delivery and I just couldn’t get the baby out, resulting in a forceps birth. I was trying to deliver both a baby and an enormous tumour, so no wonder it was hard.”

Cutting edge treatment saved her life but she lost her fertility, and the intensive internal radiation therapy she underwent has left her in permanent pain.

Samantha Burn, a store supervisor at The Works in Fakenham.

Samantha Burn, a store supervisor at The Works in Fakenham shed tears of joy as the company’s fundraising for Cancer Research UK hit its £1 million milestone. - Credit: Mark Hewlett

“My baby saved my life by pushing the tumour down into a position where it could be felt," she said.

"Without that pressure, it could have remained undetected inside me until it was too late."

“The treatment I had was so aggressive that most people don’t get through it, but I had a baby to live for, so I gritted my teeth and made it through five weeks of daily radiotherapy and weekly chemotherapy.”

She is still free of cancer and is incredibly grateful for the research that saved her life. She knows better than anyone how important research is in finding new, gentler treatments for cancer.

“If it wasn’t for research I wouldn’t be here.

"Thanks to more research, the treatments they use today are kinder and less damaging than some of the treatments available when I was ill."

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