A young Hendon couple are set to walk 79 miles around London in three days to raise money to tackle a little-known disease that almost left the family without a mother and daughter.
Last year, while pregnant with her second child, Rochelle Rosenthal had an early scan and found out that hers was a partial molar pregnancy – a rare and devastating diagnosis. Doctors explained that, of the 1,000 or so partial molar pregnancies every year, 98 percent end in miscarriage or termination, and in most cases, the mother is at high risk of contracting cancer.
Told to prepare for the worst, the couple waited weeks for the pregnancy to progress enough to make a clearer assessment, exploring chemotherapy treatments for Rochelle and mentally preparing to lose their baby daughter.
“It was unbearable,” said husband Stephen, “waiting for such shattering news, dealing with our three-year-old daughter Maya’s needs, battling sickness, kidney stones and the mental stresses of preparing for a termination, the risk of cancer, chemotherapy and potentially no future children.”
However, luck was on their side. On 24 March, young Eden was born and, to everyone’s immense relief, both mother and daughter were fine. Sonographers at the Royal Free Hospital started calling the youngster “the miracle baby” and even submitted a clinical paper on her. Having come through the pregnancy unscathed, the couple are now raising funds and awareness of molar pregnancies and Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) by schlepping the 79-mile Capital Ring walk in under 72 hours. “We’re trying to raise £10,000 for Professor Anthony Seckl of the Cancer Treatment and Research Trust at Charing Cross Hospital,” they said, ahead of their three-day walk, starting in Hendon Park Café on Sunday at 10am.
“Having somehow come through it, we feel a very strong sense of responsibility to help the overwhelming majority of people who don’t.”
Seckl is an expert in the field, and is working on a test to tell GTD sufferers whether they require chemotherapy and other treatments far more quickly than is currently available, sparing them further grief following the shattering loss of a child.
“We’re incredibly humbled by the generosity of friends, family, colleagues and complete strangers who have shared their money, stories and support,” said the couple, as sponsorship topped £6,000.
“This is a devastating condition.” Anyone is invited to walk the first leg. For those who can’t but want to find out progress of the walk, the couple will be updating the hashtag #CircleTheCity during their three- day walk.