Twin brothers diagnosed with cancer

George (right) was diagnosed about a year after his twin brother Harry

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A mother of four has described the moment lightning struck twice as it was revealed her twin sons had both been diagnosed with the same type of cancer.

Sally Hyde, from Devon, was devastated when she found out her 14-year-old son George Parnell had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a year after his twin brother Harry.

Harry has recovered from the disease and George is undergoing treatment.

Mrs Hyde says she wants to raise awareness of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

'Cosmic bad luck'

Harry noticed he had a lump after being kicked in the neck during taekwondo practice in August 2012.

Sally Hyde Sally Hyde says she is very proud of her boys

The family, from Buckfastleigh, were initially advised to wait and see if the lump went down, but after four weeks, the lump - which Harry named Keith - was still there.

The tumour was so large, it had filled his chest, and his windpipe was moved to the side.

Harry underwent six months of chemotherapy and then radiotherapy, before being told his cancer was dormant.

After being given the all-clear, Mrs Hyde was planning an event to raise money for Cancer Research UK, when George sent her a text saying there was "something wrong with his neck".

About a month ago it was confirmed George also had Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"Instantly I knew, and I think George knew as well. I tried not to panic," Mrs Hyde said.

What is Hodgkin's lymphoma?

  • Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of a type of white blood cell found in the lymphatic system.
  • The lymphatic system is part of the immune system.
  • In lymphoma, the affected lymphocytes lose their infection-fighting properties, making you more vulnerable to infection.
  • Nearly 1,500 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in the UK each year.
  • The cause of Hodgkin's lymphoma is unknown.

"The doctor had said it would be like 'cosmic bad luck', were his actual words; it has always stuck with me, what he said: he said it would be 'like a lightning strike in the same place twice'.

"I've got four children and two of them are going through this, it is unbelievable, really, but we've done it once and we'll do it again."

Mrs Hyde said she had been amazed at how well the teenagers have dealt with it all and found support from each other.

"They're so unaffected, they just want to get the treatment, get better, so they can carry on," she said.

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