For the past four years, Sophie Ellis has been fighting a cancer contracted from exposure to asbestos.
At the tender age of 13, Sophie was diagnosed with mesothelioma, making her the youngest person ever diagnosed with that disease in Britain. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung, heart or abdomen that is linked to asbestos exposure. Normally, this disease is found in middle-aged and elderly people due to the long latency period (typically, 20 to 50 years).
Doctors had a hard time diagnosing Sophie’s condition at first, because it is incredibly rare to see this disease in such a young person.
Sophie was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma after developing pain in her side from what she thought initially was a sports injury. Tests revealed she had a tumor on the lining on her right lung. She suffered through 8 months of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, and then surgeons opted to remove the entire lung.
She was 14 years old.
Sophie hopes to become a famous actress. She has already lived longer than the average expectancy. The majority of mesothelioma sufferers lose their battle with this disease in less than 2 years following diagnosis.
Sophie is not the only young person in Britain to be affected by this disease. Last year, 28-year-old Leigh Carlisle became the youngest recorded person to die from mesothelioma. She was diagnosed at age 26, and believed she contracted the disease by taking a shortcut to school that took her past a factory where asbestos was being cut.
Sophie is the newest voice lending her support to the Mirror’s Asbestos Timebomb campaign, which aims to raise asbestos awareness and gain support for a multi-million dollar asbestos research and treatment center.