A courageous teenager who battled ovarian cancer at just 17-years-old has told how her love of sport helped her to beat the disease.
Olivia Key visited her doctor at the start of her final school year after she noticed a bump in her stomach.
Tests carried out in November 2014 revealed the devoted sportswoman was suffering from a cyst measuring almost 30cm and doctors had discovered cancer in her left ovary.
She was rushed into surgery at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, West Yorks., where doctors removed the entire cyst as well as her left ovary and fallopian tube.
Determined not to let her operation slow her down, Olivia was keen to start her football training and returned to the pitch for South Cave ladies football team, in Hull East Yorks., less than two months later.
Olivia, who still has a healthy right ovary and will still be able to have a family of her own one day, spoke about how she didn’t think anything like this would happen to her.
Now 18, she said: “It still seems like it didn’t happen some days. It has taken a long time to sink in.
“When you are 17 you don’t think you’re going to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer – it is a one in a million chance to develop this at my age – so I think it was a big shock for everyone.”
The inspiring teenager – who wants to become a PE teacher – stunned her classmates when she took part in a Sports Leaders Conference at the University of Hull just four days after returning home from hospital.
Olivia presented a new initiative to encourage young people to engage in physical activities and credits her remarkable recovery to her passion for sport.
She said: “I really wanted to get back to playing football and hockey as soon as possible after the operation and having something to focus on and a goal to reach was really helpful.
“I know I am very lucky to have made such a quick recovery and I’m so grateful to the brilliant doctors I have had and the support from family and friends.”
Olivia’s mother, Mandy Key, 46, spoke of her devastation when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
She said: “It was absolutely horrendous when we found out Olivia had cancer.
“The doctors in Hull said they had never seen anyone her age with ovarian cancer in the city.”
“For the past 12 months we have been waiting for Olivia to have a breakdown, but it just hasn’t happened.
“She has had such a positive attitude throughout her treatment and she knew she was going to beat it.”
Mrs Key added: “From the moment she started to walk she has been active and very determined in what she wants to do. She is a unique girl.”