Stacy braves Barrow fire walk after spine fractures due to rare cancer

on Monday, 06 November 2017. Tags Barrow, Barrow Raiders, cancer, Cancer Support, CancerCare, Fire Walk, Furness Peninsula, Kendal, Lancaster, North Lancashire, Slynedales, South Lakeland

A young mum whose spine fractured as the result of a rare and undiagnosed blood cancer is set to walk on fire and broken glass in aid of charity.

Stacy Woodhouse, 38, from Walney Island, has signed up to the ‘Fire and Ice’ challenge for CancerCare in Barrow, despite the fact that she is still battling cancer.

Stacy, who is mum to two-year-old Harper-Mae, is receiving support and aromatherapy from CancerCare as she is going through her cancer treatment.

Brave Stacy refuses to let her illness stop her doing anything and is undertaking the fire walk at Barrow Raiders Rugby Ground on Sunday, November 12, as a ‘thank you’ to the charity based at Trinity Church Centre on Warwick Street in Barrow.

Stacy, who runs the Barrow branch of the Manchester United Supporters Club and plays in a local darts league, said: “I went from having a bad back to having a broken back. My spine had fractured. I could not believe it.

“I hurt my back in September of 2016. I lifted Harper-Mae and I felt something snap.

“I went to the doctor and I still wasn’t well at Christmas. I had blood tests done in January 2017 and I had a MRI scan in February. They found a bulge on my spine so they arranged a CT scan.

“The next morning I could not get out of bed. That was when they think the disc broke in my spine.

“I was taken to Preston Royal Hospital on the Wednesday and had a Spine Vertiplasty on the Friday.”

A biopsy showed that Stacy had a type of cancer called solitary plasmacytoma.

Stacy explained: “plasmacytomas sit on the bone. The one I had broke a disc in my spine.

They have told me it’s very rare. On average only five people a year get plasmacytomas and they are usually men over the age of 65.

Stacy was in hospital in Preston for several weeks after her operation and she also received radiotherapy.

Her radiotherapy finished in March of 2017 but she was still in a lot of pain.

Stacy said: “My back started hurting again. I knew something wasn’t right and eventually I decided I wanted a second opinion and went to The Christie hospital in Manchester.”

She then had a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan in September to reveal how her tissues and organs were functioning.

Tragically, the scan revealed 14 further incidences of cancer. Doctors are still investigating whether they are ‘myeloma spots’ (a type of cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells) or plasmacytomas.

She is now waiting to see doctors in Manchester about having a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

Stacy said: “I am currently having chemotherapy and need a bone marrow transplant after Xmas. I’m on 44 tablets a day so hopefully it can be stopped.

“Harper-Mae knows I’m not well. She is very clever and bright. Harper-Mae’s dad, Matt Lipscombe, is also doing the Fire and Ice Walk to support me.”

Stacy grew up on Walney Island with her sisters Beth and Erin and her mum and dad, Lesley and Stewart Woodhouse.

She lived on the Isle of Man for five years and ran pubs before returning to Walney to be with her family.

When she moved back to Walney, Stacy worked for Thomson Travel in Barrow for seven years and more recently had a job with the Post Office on Lesh Lane in the town. She is currently unable to work due to her illness and having to attend regular hospital appointments. As a hobby, she runs ‘Scentsy’ parties where she sells wax warmers.

Stacy said: “People have been so generous to me and Harper-Mae.

“It has been very hard not being able to work and their support has been amazing.

“I’m so tired but I just keep going.”

Rachel Minshull, Barrow and Furness Development Officer for CancerCare, added: “The Fire and Ice walk is the first major fundraising event that we’ve held in Barrow since our launch here earlier this year.

“I'm really excited about it and I hope that people will come along and support both the walkers and CancerCare.

“Stacy has been amazing over the last few weeks. She’s spoken to so many people about us and even persuaded friends to sign up to the walk as well. I have to say that I will be very proud to stand with Stacy when we have both complete the Fire and Ice walk.”

Everyone over the age of 14 years is still welcome to enter the CancerCare Fire and Walk at Barrow Raiders’ Craven Park rugby ground on Duke Street on Sunday, November 12, from 2.30pm. For more information or to book call CancerCare on 01539 735 800 or 01229 384 084 or go to www.cancercare.org.uk/events/fire-ice-barrow

Entry costs £25 for either of the challenges or £30 for both. The charity would also appreciate it if participants can raise some sponsorship money.

CancerCare in Barrow, Ulverston and the wider Furness Peninsula offers free local support to adults and children who are dealing with a diagnosis, managing the emotional and physical effects of cancer treatment or who are caring for someone who is suffering from cancer.