Brave Rugby mum diagnosed with leukaemia on son’s 11th birthday raises money for charity

Sarah Shaw with her three children
Sarah Shaw with her three children

A St Cross nurse and mum-of-three who was diagnosed with leukaemia on her son’s 11th birthday is raising money to fund ‘vital’ research.

Sarah Shaw, from Rugby, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia a few months ago - a rare form of the disease that affects around 600 people in the UK each year.

I’m so thankful that this has been caught early and can be helped in some way

Sarah Shaw

After suffering headaches and tiredness for long periods, Sarah decided to visit her GP and asked for blood tests. She was concerned as her mum, who died 11 years ago, complained of serious headaches before being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“The GP called me on my son’s 11th birthday and I just knew it was bad, I started shaking,” Sarah said.

“I’d only had the blood tests a few days before my son’s birthday so I hadn’t actually had time to tell my husband Lea about them. I felt so sorry for him because it came out of the blue.”

The 39-year-old, who works on the Mulberry Ward at the Hospital of St Cross, said her job may have masked her symptoms.

“I was tired all the time and was working busy shifts so I put the way I was feeling down to work,” she said.

“I’m a mum of three and was working practically full time so it made sense that I was feeling the strain, but not to that extent.”

Sarah’s children, Lilly, four, Ollie, 11, and Georgia, 16, have been very supportive and even took on a sponsored mud run to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Sarah has been put on a course of oral chemotherapy and is responding well to a drug that was created 13 years ago.

“If research hadn’t of been done, then I would only be expected to live two years without a bone marrow transplant,” Sarah said.

“But thanks to vital research, I can take the tablets every day and hopefully live a normal life. I’m so thankful that this has been caught early and can be helped in some way.

“I’m now back at work and feeling great at the moment.”

Family and friends supported Sarah at a fundraising event at The Bell in Hillmorton on June 20.

They raised £1,170 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research through a raffle, tombola, face painting, glitter tattoos, cake sale, hair braiding, barbecue, catch the rat game, nail bar, and live music.

Sarah would like to thank everyone who went along and gave up their time for free, with a special mention to Andy Walker and the staff at The Bell.