Author’s cancer diagnosis prompts charity clothing collection launch

Hannah with Alf.

Leyburn author Hannah Russell has vowed to raise awareness and money for charity after being diagnosed with a rare cancer.

The 23-year-old was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer, a little known cancer of the bone and soft tissue in June.

Hannah, who is the author of a series of books about her miniature Shetland pony called Alf, is now determined to raise awareness about the cancer through a new collection of t-shirt, hoodies and bag designs.

Inspired by sunflowers, a symbol of perseverance and warmth close to the heart of the sarcoma community, Hannah hopes her new collection will encourage people find out more about sarcoma.

She will be donating all the profits to Sarcoma UK, the national bone and soft tissue cancer charity, that offers support everyone in the UK affected by sarcoma.

Hannah first noticed something was wrong early in 2020 when she began to develop pain in her right hip over the course of four to six months.

She said: “Initially, I put my symptoms down to joint pain from an old injury, but the pain started to get worse and worse.

“I was in pain for about 4-6 months before I went to see my GP, it was only after I became increasingly tired that I decided to make an appointment. I also became increasingly tired, so decided to contact my GP.

“I  was sent for a series of scans and tests and not long after I found out I had a high-grade sarcoma tumour just above the hip.”

She had surgery to remove the tumour and a course of radiotherapy to help treat any remaining cancer cells left behind.

She said: “I’m slowly but surely on the mend, I do have a few side effects but I’m learning to manage those and I’m building back up day by day.”

Hannah wearing one of her new hoodies.

Sarcoma makes up just 1.4 per cent of cancer diagnosis in the UK and can develop anywhere in the body, including muscles, bones, tendons, tissues and blood vessels.

Hannah said: “I feel so lucky to have been able to get diagnosed at such an early stage, thousands of people don’t. If more people knew about sarcoma they would get their symptoms checked out earlier. The earlier sarcoma is diagnosed, the greater the chance of successful treatment.”

Helen Stradling, support line lead for Sarcoma UK said: “Hearing the diagnosis of sarcoma can be devastating for patients and their loved ones and beginning treatment as soon as possible enables the best chances of success.

“Time and again we hear about how being diagnosed with such an uncommon cancer can be such a lonely and isolating experience. Put simply, early diagnosis saves lives.

“One in three patients have to wait more than six months for a sarcoma diagnosis. So if you notice a lump, are experiencing joint or bone pain, or simply feel that something is just not right, please go and see your GP.

“We’re grateful that Hannah chosen to support Sarcoma UK with her beautiful t-shirt designs.”

Hannah’s t-shirts are available here.