Fight­ing the good fight

Central Leader - - NEWS - By MARYKE PEN­MAN

Pho­tos from her blog show Melissa Kerr, 22, sport­ing a big grin even though she is be­ing pumped full of chemo­ther­apy drugs.

The univer­sity stu­dent and promis­ing net­ball player has just be­gun her third round of the treat­ment since be­ing di­ag­nosed with Hodgkin’s lym­phoma.

Miss Kerr was given the shock­ing news by her fam­ily doc­tor af­ter hav­ing blood tests ex­actly one month be­fore Christ­mas.

She says a painful lump had ap­peared on her neck and she was con­stantly ex­hausted.

But the pre­mier net­ball player says she thought she was just run­down af­ter com­plet­ing her first year of a dou­ble ma­jor in crim­i­nol­ogy and com­puter sci­ence at the Univer­sity of Auck­land.

‘‘It was such a shock. He men­tioned it could be this and it could be that, but I never thought it would be cancer,’’ Miss Kerr says.

Hodgkin’s lym­phoma is cancer of the lym­phatic sys­tem, a part of the im­mune sys­tem, and has no known spe­cific cause.

It is up to two times more com­mon in males, but more than 75 per cent of those with the dis­ease can be cured of it with com­mon treat­ments like chemo­ther­apy and ra­di­a­tion.

Miss Kerr has reluc­tantly put her stud­ies on hold un­til she is clear of the dis­ease.

Tests show the cancer is present in her neck, chest and hips.

‘‘I am a stage four, but it has skipped my or­gans thank­fully.’’

Scans show the lump in her neck has dis­ap­peared and al­though it is early days, Miss Kerr is op­ti­mistic.

Photo: DANA LEE

Kick­ing cancer: Melissa Kerr, 22, is un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy to treat Hodgkin’s lym­phoma, cancer of the lym­phatic sys­tem.

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