A KIDDERMINSTER woman who was diagnosed with lymphoma as a teenager is supporting a national charity Christmas campaign, aimed at helping more people affected by the UK's fifth most common cancer.

Ellie Philpotts was diagnosed in January 2010, at the age of 15, after experiencing symptoms throughout the Christmas period and run-up to the New Year.

She was plagued by tiredness, night sweats and breathlessness, but put it down to a winter virus or the flu.

Ellie, 21, said: "I had been feeling ill for a few months longer than I thought was normal. This was also the run-up to Christmas, the time of year when you might expect a snuffle or two, or maybe even a pulled muscle thanks to all the last minute shopping bags - but not usually anything more than that.

"I tried to carry on as normal, sticking to routine like going to school, as well as keeping up with festivities, but when January rolled around and I was juggling symptoms like struggling to breathe and night sweats even more intensely, I realised my problems weren't going to be banished to the past year after all.

"Having my diagnosis confirmed at the end of the month was a shock, but also a relief in some ways, as it meant I could start the treatment and ultimately recovery process."

Around 125,000 people are living with lymphoma in the UK. It is also the most common cancer in young people.

National charity, the Lymphoma Association, is hoping its Christmas Wish campaign will help to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of lymphoma, raise vital funds for its work supporting people affected by a diagnosis and to promote its message that no one should face lymphoma alone.

After successful treatment for her lymphoma, Ellie went on to study journalism and English literature at Cardiff University, graduating earlier this year.

Her Christmas wish is for there to be more public awareness of lymphoma, especially among young people.

Ellie added: "It is one of the most common types of teenage cancer, but the signs can often seem like other illnesses such as glandular fever and viruses.

"I would encourage young adults to know their bodies and take any prolonged lymphoma-like symptoms to the doctors.

"I hope everyone affected by lymphoma has a lovely Christmas and can look towards a happy, healthy New Year.

"Remember that although lymphoma can seem lonely even in the festive period, thanks to Lymphoma Association there are always ways to speak to people who understand."

You can support the Christmas Wish campaign by visiting lymphomas.org.uk/Christmas.