Brave schoolgirl faces 81 weeks of chemotherapy
A TEENAGER has described her fight against brain cancer as she helps to raise awareness and money for others suffering with the disease.
Jasmine Bayly was diagnosed with the life threatening illness in April.
The 13-year-old Hele's School student is now undergoing 81 weeks of chemotherapy in a hope of shrinking the tumour, which is positioned so deep within her brain that it cannot be operated on.
Jasmine told The Herald: "It has been really hard. The pain is the worst thing, if it wasn't for the pain it would be okay. I don't like losing my appetite either, or losing my hair."
Although the Plympton pupil is set to endure chemotherapy until December 2013, she is fighting hard for her future.
"The people who go through the most pain have the best future because they deserve it the most," Jasmine said.
Her parents, Sandra and Heath Bayly, raised concerns over Jasmine's health on her 13th birthday. As the teenager was opening her presents, they noticed she was not using her left hand properly.
When Jasmine was seven she was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 1, a condition which causes tissue along the nerves to grow uncontrollably. It can also trigger attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
After noticing Jasmine's restricted hand movements, Sandra and Heath took their daughter to the doctor.
She was then transferred to Derriford Hospital to see a specialist, where she had to undergo a scan.
Their worst nightmares were confirmed when they were told Jasmine had a large tumour in her brain.
"I thought I was poorly because I had been so naughty," she said.
"I couldn't go in to find out my results, I didn't want to know and I said to mum she wasn't allowed to come out crying because then I knew it would be bad."
Sandra added: "When we heard Jasmine's diagnosis, apart from the feeling of the bottom falling out of my world, the fear, the dread, the tears, I remember thinking, this is one of those things that only happens to other people and now we're one of those families. This is really happening to us.
"I remember being completely dumbstruck, unable to formulate a question or think beyond what we were being told. My blood was running cold, my body was hot and I could not speak."
Although the chemotherapy is intended to reduce the tumour, the cancer is at risk of spreading elsewhere.
"Jasmine will have a head and spine scan next week to see if it has shrunk or if anything else has happened," Sandra said. "I'm scared about it.
"It's going to be a long road but ideally it will shrink to a size where she will outgrow it."
Jasmine has already had a difficult time thanks to Neurofibromatosis type 1.
Throughout primary school she suffered from severe behavioural problems as a result of the condition.
Sandra said: "Jasmine has spent her life being called a naughty child. She couldn't make friends because she would hit them. Once she got the diagnosis we could get help and medication for her, it was such a relief."
As the chemotherapy continues, Jasmine has been losing her hair at a dramatic speed. Now she has bought a new blonde wig.
The brave teenager said: "I felt nervous wearing it for the first time, people didn't even recognise me."
She has also been given a wheelchair to help her mobility as the chemotherapy take its toll on her legs.
Jasmine's nurse, Tanya Crago, said: "There's something about Jasmine. She's had so much pain in her life and she just takes everything on the chin.
"She always looks to the next thing and is always positive."
Because of her treatment, Jasmine has lost a lot of time in school. Hele's staff have worked around her treatment to make her timetable manageable.
A school spokesperson said: "The message that Jasmine brings is that although she has the wind knocked out of her sails in every way, she comes into school with a smile on her face. Her willingness to learn and attitude is incredible."
Now the Year 9 student is working hard to raise awareness and money for MacMillan Cancer Support, and has helped Hele's School raise £1,250 at events including a non-uniform day and a coffee morning.
She has also done a 'Leap of Faith' jump off a telegraph pole at Devon Cliffs Holiday Park, in Exmouth, to raise extra cash.
Jasmine added: "I want to raise more money and I want more people to help me."