Teen who had driving lessons on the way home from hospital after chemo passes first time

Katie Rickett, 17 got her licence with just one fault only two weeks after finishing treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma

A teenage cancer victim who practised her driving on the way home from chemotherapy treatment at hospital has passed her test at the first attempt.

Katie Rickett, 17, got her licence with just one fault only two weeks after finishing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The teen was diagnosed in May with the uncommon blood cancer which develops in the lymphatic system.

At the time she had only recently started driving lessons but wanted to continue like any other teenager.

She had to halt her lessons at one point when a strong dose of chemotherapy left her in a wheelchair but started back up as soon as she could.

Katie Rickett, 17  with her dad Neil Rickett
Katie Rickett, 17 with her dad Neil Rickett

Katie, from Peterborough, Cambs., said: “I said to myself when I was diagnosed ‘I am 17 and I want to get my driving test’.

“I had only started lessons a couple of weeks before I was diagnosed.

“I thought I would be nervous before my test but when it came to it I wasn’t.

“I managed to pass with just one minor after I forgot to check over my shoulder before I pulled away.

“I was quite pleased as I had to go through six cycles of chemotherapy – some of the strongest available at Addenbrooke’s hospital.”

Sixth form student Katie was diagnosed after she found a lump in her neck which was biopsied and she then started treatment almost immediately.

She was cared for on the teenage cancer ward at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, Cambs., where she had six three-week cycles of chemotherapy.

swns_pass_cancer_01But the youngster had to take a little time off driving during treatment after a dose of chemotherapy left her unable to walk and needing a wheelchair.

She added: “For a while I had to step back. There was a time when I couldn’t walk for a month and needed a wheelchair.

“But on the way back from Addenbrookes and my treatment, I would get a bit of driving practise in, so when it came to taking my test, my driving instructor was very confident I would pass.”

Katie had been undergoing weekly lessons with her driving instructor but had also been driving herself to and from hospital appointments in her Fiat 500.

She said: “Because I got my car for my birthday we were going out in that quite a lot.

“With my hospital appointments we had to go the back ways because I couldn’t go on the motorway, but we did that quite a bit.

“After being in the wheelchair I’ve noticed I can’t walk long distances so it’s nice I now can drive myself around.”

swns_pass_cancer_02Katie drove numerous times with the help of her step-father, Russell White, 59, and her 42-year-old mum Emma.

The family are hopeful she will get the all clear at her next hospital appointment on October 19.

Katie added: “It has been a difficult year, so it will be nice to get some good news.”

The teenager’s father Neil, who owns a roofing business, was diagnosed with head and neck cancer at the beginning of the year and had to undergo treatment himself.

But father-of-three Neil, 48, said he was “so proud” that his eldest daughter will now have independence after the horrible ordeal she also went through.

He added: “I am so proud of Katie. For her to pass first time with what she has been through is just amazing.

“When she passed I had tears in my eyes. I am just so proud of her. It was amazing.”

Neil, who is dad to Samuel, eight, and five-year-old Abigail, also spent six weeks undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy but is now slowly on the mend.


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