A woman who survived a rare cancer as a teenager was so impressed by the care she received that she became a nurse – and now works with staff at the hospital that treated her.
Laura Bengree, 27, is a paediatric community nurse and her job takes her into contact with families of other children who have cancer.
And her role also takes her back into Southampton General Hospital’s Piam Brown ward – where she was cared for her when she went through treatment.
Laura, from Hedge End, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma aged 14 when a lump on her jaw, which doctors initially thought was a swollen gland, kept growing.
She faced two years of gruelling treatment, although her recovery was not guaranteed because the type of cancer she had was so rare.
But Laura, who is now married to James and has a son, Charlie, aged 3, battled on and she went into remission before being given the all clear in 2008.
Laura said: “At the time it was a very difficult experience having cancer, but at 14 I didn’t understand the risks.
“I was more upset about losing my hair because of the treatment. The staff at Piam Brown ward made the experience a lot better. In fact my experience there helped me decide to take my nurse training. Before that I wanted to be an air stewardess.”
Laura added: “It is wonderful to go back into Piam Brown ward as a nurse knowing that now I am helping others like me.” Laura’s dad, Steve, died of the disease, aged 57, around 18 months ago and her mum, Jayne, 51, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just before he died.
She is now on a clinical trial at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital. A recent scan indicated she was responding well to the new treatment.
“My entire family want to do what they can to fight cancer. My husband and brother raised over £8,000 for research by cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats and my mum, my four sisters and I did Race for Life recently in Dorchester.”
She added: “I am hoping that sharing my story will inspire others to enter Race for Life at Southampton and raise money for this very good cause”.
Race for Life is taking place at Southampton Common on Sunday, July 8.
• To join Hampshire versus cancer, enter Race for Life 5k or 10k at raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111.