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