Press release posted 7 November 2023
Hannah Hill is a remarkable survivor - her inspiring story encompasses her journey through a brain tumour diagnosis and the miraculous joy of becoming a mother to twins. As a thank you to the cancer hospital that saved her life and allowed her to become a mum, Hannah will be taking part in The Christie Charity’s fundraising ‘Festive Dash’ in Heaton Park on Sunday 26 November 2023, along with her mother Carol Owen, sister-in-law, Sophie Heyes and her miracle twins Thomas and Alice who are 8 years old.
Growing up in Haydock St. Helens, with parents Carol and Peter Owen, Hannah was just 18, when her life took an unexpected turn. She experienced a sudden seizure and was transported to Wigan Royal Albert Infirmary, where she remained for 2 nights. A CT scan was arranged for the following Monday, and on the way back from the scan, her mum Carol, received a call requesting a return visit for an MRI scan.
2 weeks elapsed before receiving the devastating diagnosis: Hannah had a brain tumour. The following three weeks were a blur of medical appointments, consultations at Salford Royal Hospital, and meetings with Dr Rao at The Christie hospital in Manchester.
On September 27, 2006, just 2 days before her 19th birthday, Hannah underwent brain surgery to remove the tumour, and it was during this procedure a glioblastoma was discovered, which is an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Hannah endured 30 sessions of intense radiotherapy, followed by seven months of chemotherapy with a trial drug at The Christie. It was during this period that she received the news that, due to the damage to her pituitary gland, she would not be able to conceive a child naturally.
Hannah explains: “Although when growing up all I wanted was to be a mum; being told at 19 I couldn’t get pregnant naturally was not my priority - beating this horrible cancer was! But as I grew a little older, and the cancer was at bay, being a mum was at the forefront of my mind again. Adoption was definitely the way forward for us, as I knew if we tried and failed to conceive, I would lay the blame on myself.”
In May 2007, Hannah went for another scan, and to her astonishment, it revealed the tumour had disappeared. She continued chemotherapy for 2 more months and was told she was cancer free in July 2007.
The following year Hannah embarked on an adventure to Australia with her sister and friends, where she met her future husband Mike Hill at a rugby league match. 3 years later, they got married and were offered hormone treatment to assist Hannah in conceiving, but she declined and opted to explore adoption.
A few months later, Hannah began to feel unwell and after experiencing various symptoms, she took a pregnancy test that yielded an unexpected positive result. When Hannah and Mike went to the hospital together, not knowing what to expect, to their surprise, a scan revealed not one but two heartbeats!
Against the odds, Hannah is now the proud mother of twins - a son Thomas and daughter Alice, both now aged 8 years old.
She says: “I remember the scan well, there was a trained midwife, that was practising scanning and a consultant training her. They explained to me, before the scan, that they would leave the room to discuss the findings and then come and tell us the results. “She began to scan me, looking at the screen and at each other, we feared the worse, I was not supposed to get pregnant, so a happy scan was not expected…
“They left the room and entered back within seconds. The midwife said ‘So, Hannah and Mike, here is heart beat one…(pause) and here is heartbeat two! My husband almost fainted and I cried with happiness.”
Now Hannah, aged 36, and her family want to thank The Christie hospital that saved her life and allowed her to become a mum by raising much needed funds for The Christie Charity.
Hannah, who lives in Wigan, will be joined by her mother, sister-in-law, and her twins Thomas and Alice on Sunday 26 November 2023 as they take part in The Christie Charity Festive Dash in Heaton Park, Manchester. It is a 5K, walk, jog, or run where participants dress up in festive costumes to get into the Christmas spirit. The dash starts at 10:30am, with entertainment and refreshments from 9.30am to 12noon. For more details about the event, please see The Christie Festive Dash.
Lindsey Farthing from The Christie Charity says: “Hannah’s story is incredibly inspiring. It really highlights the importance of the work of The Christie hospital and the role The Christie Charity plays in ensuring patients are offered the very best and latest cancer treatments. We’re delighted that Hannah and her family will be joining us for our Festive Dash. It promises to be a fantastic event!”
To support the work of The Christie Charity, please go to Donate today or ring 0161 446 3988.
The Christie cCarity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.