University of Portsmouth student thought she had fresher's flu - but then she got a diagnosis of leukaemia

AFTER weeks of feeling unwell, one University of Portsmouth student went for a routine hospital check-up with premonitions of fresher's flu.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 1:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 6:46 pm
Claire Roache from Gosport before her diagnosis and during treatment

Unfortunately the outcome was far worse than she could ever had imagined.

After a variety of tests, 46-year-old Claire Roache was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and immediately began treatment with the acute oncology unit at the Queen Alexandra Hospital.

‘I was in absolute shock,’ Claire said. ‘I'd just moved my whole family to Portsmouth for university after finishing my A-levels at St Vincent College in Gosport.

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‘I started to feel ill around December time. I was really tired and run down, but just put it down to my age. Then I thought it could have been freshers flu but it just kept getting worse and worse.

‘Then when I got my diagnosis it was a massive shock. I didn't know what to do or how I was going to cope as a single parent.’

Claire was finally given the all-clear just over a year ago, and is getting stronger every day with the continued support of her family.

The criminology and psychology student said: ‘My family were amazing throughout my treatment.

‘My sister was so helpful. When I went in for stem-cell treatment she moved in to temporary accommodation near the hospital to look after me.

‘Macmillan were also very good and I did a fundraiser for them.

Now, the mother-of-three is determined to give more people with blood cancer a chance at survival by heading out on a sponsored walk from Commercial Road to Queen Alexandra Hospital to raise money for charity Anthony Nolan.

Anthony Nolan is the charity that finds matching donors for people with blood cancer who need a stem cell transplant – and gives them a second chance of life.

The charity walk will be held on September 21 and Claire remains optimistic about her fundraising targets.

‘I'm really looking for any kind of donation,’ she said. ‘It costs £40 for a new person to register for a stem-cell donation, which is just like giving blood.

‘If just a few more people could register, that would give so many more a fighting chance at survival.’