Cross-country charity cycle follows rare miscarriage

Delighted to be expecting her first baby, Kelly Stocker was unprepared for the devastating news at ten weeks that she had suffered a rare form of miscarriage.

Friends Kelly and Alice will cycle from John OGroats to Lands End in May
Friends Kelly and Alice will cycle from John OGroats to Lands End in May

Not only was there no baby, the placenta had become a tumour and later developed into cancer.

Thankfully, Kelly, 31, from Rustington, was given the all clear after her seventh round of chemotherapy in March 2016.

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Now, she wants to help other women in the same situation, as between one and three in every 1,000 pregnancies are molar and 15 per cent of those cases develop into cancer.

Kelly and her friend Alice Jeffrey, also 31, from Worcester, will be cycling 950 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End in May for the Cancer Treatment and Research Trust at Charing Cross Hospital, because its support and knowledge saved her life.

Kelly also wants to combat the stigma surrounding miscarriage, tackle attitudes towards men in pain, as her partner had no support, and to be able to offer support to anyone suffering.

Kelly said: “There is only one counsellor available in Sussex to support couples going through a molar pregnancy, and she is based at Charing Cross.

“The Cancer Treatment and Research Trust raises funds to support research into this and similar types of cancer, helping to detect and treat this life-changing condition better and quicker.

“Alice and I are hoping to raise £1,000 for this amazing charity, to which I owe so much, by taking on this cycling challenge and would be grateful for every bit of support we receive.

“Both fairly novice cyclists, this really does represent a real challenge for us, so please sponsor us if you can and help us to make a difference to people unlucky enough to need CTRT’s help in the future.”

It was in September 2015 that Kelly and her partner found out she was expecting but ten weeks in, the ultrasound revealed she had suffered a molar pregnancy, where the egg does not contain the genetic information required to form a baby and the placenta becomes a tumour.

Kelly said: “I was formally diagnosed with persistent trophoblastic disease in December 2015 and what followed after was a blur of tests and surgical procedures, resulting in a three-month course of chemotherapy, led by Charing Cross Hospital in London, one of only two centres in the UK that treat the condition.

“In May 2016, after a difficult physical and mental period for myself and my partner, my hCG levels had returned to normal. Although I will need regular urine tests for the rest of my life, I am so grateful for the treatment and support that Charing Cross gave me, and hope to go on to have a healthy pregnancy in time.”

Training for the cycle ride is ‘very physically taxing’, but Kelly is spurred on by the remarkable stories of people’s life-changing struggles and their brave selfless efforts to raise funds for their chosen charities that she has read in the Littlehampton Gazette.

She said: “These incredible people have been an inspiration to me over the past two years, showing no matter how small the effort or contribution, they can have a massive positive impact.”