Woman graduates after cancer ordeal

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A CHILDMINDER is set to graduate with an Open University degree tomorrow - after being diagnosed with breast cancer and discovering a lesion on her lung while on the course.

Helen Nunn, 54, from Ringshall, took up an Open University BA (Hons) Early Years degree course in 2006 to get better qualified as a registered childminder.

But in 2009, after a routine check-up, Helen was diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer and underwent surgery to remove the cancerous cells.

At the same time Helen tried to continue her job looking after children and studied for two modules of her course.

She was eventually given the all clear and got back to concentrating on her studies.

But in June 2011, after another routine check up, a lesion was discovered on her lung.

The lesion turned out to be scar tissue from a bout of pneumonia she had suffered months before but the experience had taken a toll.

On June 9 at Ely Cathedral Helen graduates with a 2:1.

Helen said: “I was diagnosed with early breast cancer about half way through the course - it came completely out of the blue.

“I had to undergo surgery and take some time off work.

“It took some time, a good six to nine months, before I felt back on form.

“Immediately after the surgery I had no energy and no motivation at all.

“My initial reaction was to stop but the support I received from my family, the Open University and the hospital was brilliant.

“When the doctors found the legion two years later, I immediately thought it was lung cancer.

“But it turned out I had pneumonia earlier in the year and it was scar tissue from the infection.

“Again the OU, hospital and my family were brilliant.”

“It feels amazing to be graduating.”