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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

She really IS the best friend: Cancer survivor who had her womb removed is given hope of becoming a mother after colleague offers to be a surrogate

~ Victoria Eames went for a routine smear test and learned she had cancer
~ Had a hysterectomy - womb removed - to prevent disease from spreading
~ Hearing she would never become pregnant 'shattered her world'
~ Her best friend Jenah Colledge stepped in and offered to be a surrogate
~ The pair will begin the process in a year in case Ms Eames' cancer returns

It was an operation that saved her life.

But for Victoria Eames, having a hysterectomy has proved life-changing.

The 32-year-old's world crashed down around her when doctors revealed she was suffering cervical cancer, following a routine smear test.
The dancer was told her womb would have to be removed to prevent the cancer from spreading.

It left Miss Eames and her partner of two years, illustrator James Lobley, 24, devastated.

They had always planned on having children, yet the operation left Ms Eames infertile.

But in the couple's moment of despair, Ms Eames's best friend Jenah Colledge stepped in, offering to act as a surrogate, giving her friend the gift of motherhood.

Ms Eames, who has since been given the all-clear from cancer, said: 'I've always wanted the traditional things, to get married, get pregnant, have children.

Lots of people want a fancy house, holidays, cars, but I just wanted the simple things - I love my family, I love James, and wanted a family of my own.

'Hearing that I would never be pregnant just shattered my world. 

'There were times after I'd been diagnosed that I'd wake up and think it was all a dream - but then I'd get the crushing realization that it was real, this was my life now.

'It's such a feeling of loss but then I feel I've gained something in some way.

'It sounds weird to say but for me this has been a positive experience.

'Now I see what I could have lost, it's like everything is better - it's almost like my life is in focus, colors are brighter, sharper, I know how lucky I am to be alive.

'As soon as Jenah found out what had happened, she told me: "Let me do this for you. Let's crack on".

'She'll never know how much what she's doing means to me - I'll never be able to thank her enough for making my life complete.'

Ms Eames, from Castleford, in West Yorkshire, runs entertainment company Pastiche Europe.

She added: 'My doctor told me the most successful chance of me surviving was to have a hysterectomy.

'I was just devastated. One hundred per cent devastated. I sobbed.

'I remember telling James that I was sorry. I felt like I'd let him down.

'We'd already spoken about pregnancy in the past. I knew he'd make a great dad but I felt like all of our plans were ruined.

'All of the things I'd hoped for wouldn't ever happen.

'When I'd been diagnosed, Jenah had offered to be a surrogate, but at the time, I told her it wouldn't come to that.

'But I rang her as soon as we got out of the meeting that day.

'She said: "Right, come on then, let's crack on. I'd do anything for you, just let me know what you need".'

On December 3, Ms Eames underwent a hysterectomy, with surgeons removing everything but her ovaries.

She was given the all-clear by doctors on December 18, and will have check-ups every three months.

She said: 'Of course I have bad days. Realising I will never be pregnant is hard.

'I notice pregnant women more now, in films, on the street.

'I know I'll have an amazing thing with Jen, but I still feel a little bit sad that I won't get to know how it feels to carry a child.

'Even the things people complain about, I'll never experience - the pain of childbirth, the morning sickness. Little things like that.

'But I look at things like 'I'm here'.'

Doctors have told Ms Eames to wait a year until she and Ms Colledge start the surrogacy process, to ensure the cancer does not return.

'The best thing about Jen offering is that I know I can trust her 100 per cent,' Ms Eames said.

'And since she's offered, I've never doubted her for a minute.

'I wouldn't do surrogacy with a stranger, because they can decide right up until you sign the papers that they can't do it.

'They're carrying something that is so important to you, so I'm glad a friend can do that for me.

'And she'd kill me if I did it with anyone else.

'She's just an incredible friend and she'll never know how much it means to me.'

Ms Eames has known her best friend for nine years, since the two worked as entertainers together for a company in Leeds.

University student  Ms Colledge, 30, who has a 12-year-old daughter called Grace and lives in Sunderland, said: 'As soon as I knew how serious it was I came up with the idea and when it did progress I stuck to my decision because it's the right thing to do.

'Nine months out of my time can make a difference to her whole life.'

She has organised a 'Kind Hearts Give Back' charity dinner at New Dock Hall at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on Sunday March 1 from 7pm.


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