THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised to help a nurse diagnosed with a rare cancer linked to the condition she specialises in treating.

Sally Dalton, a paediatric nurse at the Royal London Hospital, treats many children with the same bowel disorder she has suffered from since she was a child, known as ulcerative colitis disease.

The 37-year-old from Eaton Gardens in Hove was undergoing a routine scan when doctors spotted what they believed to be cancer.

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Sally was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive bile duct cancer, on Christmas Eve last year.

The Argus: Sally and her husband Aaron with their children, Rex and SylvieSally and her husband Aaron with their children, Rex and Sylvie

Her sister Katie Harel said the news had been devastating for the whole family - particularly because their father David had been diagnosed with laryngeal cancer last August.

Katie, 39, said: "Our dad had to have an operation to remove his voice box, so he has lost the ability to speak.

"His operation was on December 23 and Sally's diagnosis came the next day. Our entire lives just imploded."

Katie decided to set up a crowdfunding page for her sister to ease financial stress as she undergoes months of treatment.

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Katie, who lives in Surrey, said: "Cancer is expensive. My sister has to travel to London for treatment and has to get more childcare for her two young children.

"Normally I would be there to help in any way I can but I can't because of Covid as the risk is too high.

"Sally has been in and out of hospital all her life with her condition - she was told she may not be able to have children because of it and then had these two miracle babies after rounds of IVF.

"She's a fireball of energy and joy, and my best friend in the world.

"It's just devastating."

Donations poured in for Sally, reaching £20,000 within less than a week, and the crowdfund has so far raised just over £34,600.

The Argus: Sally and Aaron with little Rex and SylvieSally and Aaron with little Rex and Sylvie

The funds will help support the mother-of-two, whose husband Aaron has not been able to work as much during the pandemic and is looking after their two-year-old, Rex, and baby Sylvie, one.

Sally said: "My husband Aaron is a chef and a builder.

"We bought a house in Worthing which has no central heating or hot water, and usually I would be happy to live there while we do it up, but now I'm about to start chemotherapy I need to be somewhere safe.

"I had all these fears about costs and only found about the crowdfund after Katie had done it.

"I was absolutely overwhelmed. It's been a really isolating experience having this diagnosis during the pandemic.

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"To know that people have been so generous has really blown us away."

Sally is about to begin a year of intensive treatment, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

She is keen to raise awareness about her cancer, which she says has a low survival rate.

Sally said: "Like any rare disease it gets no air time, and the only way research is going to be funded is for people to know about it.

"I also want to do as much fundraising as I can.

"It has a five per cent survival rate after five years. If the chemotherapy fails I may have to go to America for treatment, as the only thing that could be curative is a liver transplant, which they don't do in the UK.

"I feel like I'm just fighting for my survival. I want my kids to have somewhere settled to live."

To donate to the crowdfund for Sally, visit the GoFundMe page.