A defiant young woman hopes her heartwarming story at finding love despite battling cancer for three years will inspire others.
Jade Manning was just 17 and about to start dance college when she was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
She started a gruelling six-month chemotherapy programme right away and one month of radiotherapy, My London reports.
But nevertheless, she met her boyfriend shortly afterwards and says the romance has aided her fight.
Speaking today, Jade, now 20, said: "It was June 2015, I was a 17-year-old dancer and was looking forward to starting dance college after the summer.
"For seven months I suffered with pains in my left leg, but because I was a dancer doctors thought I had damaged muscles as I was always on my feet.
"Then one Friday I was in awful pain and I noticed a lump on my pelvic area so I went to A&E. By Monday I was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer.
"I feel like I already knew I had cancer, I knew the pain I was feeling was different to anything I had experienced before.
"It didn’t really hit me until I was told all the in-depth details at University College London, like how I will lose my hair – and that’s when I got really upset."
Jade completed her therapy but was told the crushing news her cancer would never go away.
She added: "I took my driving test, successfully re-auditioned for my dance college and began dating my boyfriend Tom Smith who is working and studying as an architect. I started at Reynolds Training Academy in Dartford in September 2016. Everything was OK and I was doing well – getting on with it.
"Christmas 2016 arrived and I started feeling unwell, the cancer had spread to my chest wall and I started six months of chemotherapy treatment again in January 2017.
"I responded well to treatment, and although I still had bone cancer, things where good again.
"My family arranged a charity event in July 2017 and raised enough money to send me and Tom on a two-week holiday to Mexico booked for the October.
"We were so excited for the trip, but right before Mexico, pains returned to my leg.
"But I was determined to go on my holiday with my boyfriend so I just went, I caught the plane and enjoyed myself.
"On my return I was told I had cancer for the third time, this time in the bottom of my back so the routine of treatment started again."
Although the treatment worked, chemotherapy was making Jade too unwell so the decision was made between doctors and Jade to stop treatment.
In July of this year, Jade was diagnosed with cancer in her head and lungs, along with the existing disease in her pelvis.
She is currently on regular chemotherapy tablets, but she is more determined than ever to enjoy her life and inspire others while she can.
Jade wants other women facing similar battles to know it is perfectly possible to fall in love and have an amazing relationship.
She said: "You can have an illness and still have a good relationship with a partner.
"I have a great relationship with Tom, we met through friends and realised we wanted to be together.
"We do all the normal things couples our age do, we go on nice dates, go out drinking, go on holidays – we spend a lot of time together.
"Our relationship is more grown-up for people our age, I guess most people in their early 20s have relationships that are a lot more relaxed and don’t really have to make life-changing decisions or face all the responsibility of having my diagnosis.
"If I’m not in a great mood I can take stuff out on Tom quite easily as we are always together. You just go through a lot more, I talk to him about decisions I have to make, and he always supports me.
"He comes with me to hospital for appointments and treatments, but we still are a young couple and have a great time being together."
Tom is 21 and many men of that age find it impossible to commit to even the most care-free relationship.
But he has been a rock for Jade.
She said: "Tom finds it hard when he tries telling me everything’s OK when he feels he has no clue about tomorrow, and juggling work and university with me.
"Watching me struggle in pain can also be difficult.
"I asked Tom how does he think he supports me and his words were, ‘Just by being there to support you whenever I can if that means taking the day off work or uni, putting you first, distracting you so you don’t think about everything or buying pizza’.
"One of our favourite things to do is getting a takeaway and having a movie night in together, spending quality time with one another.
"He also comes to the hospital with me frequently.
"If I was given the chance I would marry him."
Jade, of Bromley, Greater London, continued: "My life changed over one weekend, I went to the hospital as a care-free 17 year old and came out with cancer – I had to grow up overnight.
"People always think they will live a fulfilling life and grow old, but they might actually never get the chance. You think it’s a given that the future is yours, but its not.
"So enjoy yourself while you can is what I say, that’s what I do.
"My mum Mandy and dad Barry are the best parents, they never miss any appointments and always try their best for me.
"They never let me go without anything, the first time I was ill my dad went and got me the new iPhone to cheer me up, they always make sure I’m looked after.
"My parents have their hands full as I’m one of six children, I have three sisters and two brothers, plus a two-year-old niece and brother in-law, we all very close and everyone is supportive of me which gives me a content environment to be in.
"I’m a very vocal person so I tell them everything, I try to be supportive of them too although I don’t like to worry them.
"I was a bridesmaid at my sister Amber’s wedding last August (2017) and it was one of my proudest moments – I was proud of myself and for her marrying Perry, the wedding was perfect – they arranged the big day in only 10 weeks as her ideal venue had a slot and she decided to book it in!
"My sister Charley, 17, recently had her long hair cut short raising £1,000 for the Little Princess Trust and also donating the hair to the cause, and we have both taken part in charity tapathons together.
"Having a good relationship with family is so important in helping to keep things postive.
"I do have hopes for the future, I like to set myself little targets and motivate myself to achieve them.
"In January my goal is to go to Paris with Tom, that’s what I really want to do, then have a 21st birthday party in February. I want to be fine for both of these things, I set little goals for every couple of months.
"I do sometimes worry I won’t be able to reach my goals – but I give it my best to make things happen.
"My advice to anyone who is going through any tough medical diagnosis is keep going, and keep doing what you are doing to the best of your ability, when you can of course."
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