A brave Moray teenager who won a personal battle against leukaemia has been speaking of her “terrifying” ordeal – and how she is once again enjoying life to the full.
16-year-old Speyside High School pupil Cliohna Thomson was well used to battling the odds having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was just five.
Her diabetes was the first thought in the minds of doctors when Cliohna was found to be going blind – but days after starting a course of injections to her eyes came the devastating news that the cause was leukaemia.
That meant five months of intensive treatment for the Aberlour teen – months that saw her isolated in a hospital ward as her entire immune system was wiped out, part of a new treatment so radical it left her allergic to bacteria on her own skin.
“At first it was terrifying,” Cliohna said, adding: “I went from seeing just a little bit blurred to hardly being able to see at all. The doctors thought I had diabetic retinopathy and that I just had a bad reaction to the injections.
“Never in a million years did I think it was cancer – when I was told I was just in shock, I thought I was going to die.”
During her time in hospital Cliohna also needed to have her appendix removed – but her five months of agonising treatment was successful. Now she is determined that despite being blind in one eye and with only limited sight in the other she will enjoy life to the full.
Last month Cliohna joined a group of young people from throughout Moray taking the controls of light aircraft as part of the ‘Bader Braves’ day with the Moray Flying Club at Kinloss Barracks.
Now she is set to take on another airborne challenge – undergoing a charity skydive on behalf of cancer charity CLAN.
Cliohna said: “I got to go up twice and that was brilliant – but now I want to jump out of a plane so I’m going to do it for CLAN. They were a massive support to me during my treatment.”