Belfast Telegraph

Teen cancer patient in Bake Off charity plea

Hendrikje Eliasberg from Killylea, Co Armagh, who is undergoing cancer treatment, and her mother Thirza are urging people to join charity campaign
Hendrikje Eliasberg from Killylea, Co Armagh, who is undergoing cancer treatment, and her mother Thirza are urging people to join charity campaign
Claire Williamson

By Claire Williamson

A mother whose teenage daughter is undergoing cancer treatment is encouraging people to grab their mixing bowls to help raise vital funds for research.

Hendrikje Eliasberg (15) was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January 2018 and spent five weeks in hospital.

The teen, from the Netherlands, who lives in Killylea, is now well enough to be back at Integrated College Dungannon, where she is studying for her GCSEs. However she is still taking oral chemotherapy drugs each day.

For the next year she will need fortnightly visits to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children to receive intravenous chemo and quarterly lumbar punctures.

The young girl's cancer was detected when she became unwell after last Christmas.

Mum Thirza said: "We thought she had flu but after three weeks of no improvement, once we were back in Northern Ireland, the GP did some blood tests.

"The next day she was urgently admitted to hospital for further tests and that's when she was diagnosed. We were shocked, sad and scared, and sick with uncertainty.

"Hendrikje went through various stages of chemo and other medication at home and in hospital. Her treatment will continue until well into 2020.

"Thankfully, she was able to start her GCSEs at school in mid-September and is keeping up really well.

"We now hope she will be able to continue her normal routines without many side effects.

"Hendrikje has been so brave throughout all of this. She inspires me to keep going and stay positive."

After Hendrikje's diagnosis last year, Thirza decided that she would organise a community fundraiser as part of The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off, raising more than £2,500.

Thirza said that organising the fundraiser was a welcome distraction at such a worrying time.

"Hendrikje's leukaemia has a very high recovery rate, and that is all thanks to continuing research into cancer treatment. I was keen to do some fundraising to try and help make sure that research can continue," she said.

"Many around me declared me crazy to organise a fundraiser while Hendrikje was still quite poorly, and in and out of hospital, but it helped me to have something to focus on.

"I chose to organise a tea and coffee morning alongside a bake sale to try to get as many people interested and to raise as much money as possible, and the support was overwhelming."

Now Thirza is calling on local people to whip up their own signature bakes - just like the stars taking part in The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer - and host their own baking fundraisers.

Hendrikje said: "When I heard mum raised over £2,500 to fund research into new treatments to help people like me, I felt really proud and couldn't stop smiling.

"I hope that others will also think about organising events to help make a difference to the lives of patients with cancer."

You can get your free fundraising pack at

Teen cancer patient in Bake Off charity plea

Belfast Telegraph


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