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Young cancer patient given top motocross prize in Cardiff hospital

A PATIENT being treated for a rare type of cancer at a Cardiff hospital has received a top sports award after becoming too ill to make the ceremony.

Tanisha Thomas, 21, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma weeks after her victory at the Scott Amateur National Motocross Championship.

The competition was a series of nine races, which took place across the UK and Ireland. Tanisha’s victory saw her become the first Welsh woman to win the event.

Tanisha at her winner's ceremony at the Heath Hospital

Tanisha Thomas at her winner’s ceremony at the Heath Hospital

Shortly after the competition Tanisha began to experience pain in her spine and began to lose feeling in her legs. Doctors at University Hospital of Wales operated to remove a tumour from her spine that has since left her wheelchair-bound.

Since the operation, Tanisha has started a six-month course of chemotherapy, which left her too weak to attend her ceremony.

“I didn’t suspect anything,” said Tanisha of the illness, “I was gutted when I couldn’t make the ceremony.”

Motocross event organisers worked closely with Tanisha’s family to organise a victory ceremony at the Heath hospital ward where she was cheered on by hospital staff.

Her father Carl Thomas, said: “She’s been fighting for this award through the pain. She deserves this.”

Around 1,900 people in the UK are diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma every year.

Liam Herbert, a therapeutic radiotherapist who trained in Cardiff said of the disease: “It’s a type of cancer which usually affects the lymph nodes.

The most common sign of the disease is a swelling of gland similar to an infection. Around one in five cases affects young people.”

A campaign has been set up by to help fund her trips from Cardigan, a two-hour drive from the Heath hospital, and pay for her overnight stays.