Newlyweds Charlie and Mark Smith were over the moon when they discovered they were expecting a baby after returning from their honeymoon.
But their joy soon turned to heartbreak as the 12-week scan revealed the mass in Charlie’s womb was in fact a lump of cancerous cells.
At a time when they were supposed to be showing loved ones their first baby scan image, the distraught couple were in fact preparing Charlie for an operation to remove the dangerous cells.
Now Charlie, aged 33, is raising money for Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity to say thank you for the care they are continuing to give her as she recovers from the difficult ordeal.
Charlie said: I was lying down in the scan room and I could tell something wasn’t right from the look on the nurse’s face, and then my husband’s face.
“She told us how sorry she was. We were confused and extremely upset.”
Charlie was diagnosed with a complete molar pregnancy, which is where no foetus has grown and there is an abnormal placenta.
“Instead of a foetus it’s a bunch of cancerous cells,” Charlie, a call centre manager, explained.
“They say it looks like a bunch of grapes on the scan and that’s how they identified it.”
Charlie had an operation to remove the molar pregnancy the following day – but a few days later she discovered some cells remained and she had to have another procedure to remove them completely.
The couple had another blow when they discovered Sheffield Hallam University graduate Charlie had a persistent form of the disease called GTN, or Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia, and required chemotherapy.
At that point was referred to Weston Park Hospital, which is one of only two centres in the country to treat patients with molar pregnancies.
The hospital monitors about 600 women with molar pregnancies per year, but only 40 require chemo.
“Obviously I had a panic when I found out I was having chemo but they said they have cured every person that’s been into them,” said Charlie.
“The team really looked after me and made the scariest experience of my life much easier for me. They were and still are amazing.”
Charlie, who now lives in Macclesfield, continues to have chemotherapy treatment through Weston Park Hospital. She and Mark, aged 39, still hope to be able to start a family in the future.
In the meantime, Charlie is getting set to support Mark and two friends in this year’s Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity Run in The Park, which takes place on July 12.
The charity’s Lucy King said: “We are incredibly grateful to Charlotte, Mark and their friends for supporting us.
“The charity relies on funds raised by events like Run in the Park to be able to fund pioneering cancer research projects within the hospital.
“We’re encouraging everyone to grab their trainers and join us at Graves Park for another fantastic day.”