Dani Link, 24, thought she only had a sore throat, but it turned out to be cancer
A young woman who went to the doctor for a sore throat found that she had a deadly cancer that quickly spread from her lymph nodes to her bones, stomach, and ovaries.
Dani Link, who came to Australia from Ontario, Canada in 2019, lived with her boyfriend Jack in Byron Bay for just over a year in February when she fell ill.
Thinking it was the flu or tonsillitis that was going around the coastal town of NSW, the 24-year-old went to the family doctor and took several antibiotics for about a month – before a lump formed on her neck and started to grow.
After a series of scans and biopsies, Dani received heartbreaking news last week that her sore throat was caused by Burkitt lymphoma – a fast-moving cancer that usually affects children and people over 60.
The waitress and university graduate told Daily Mail Australia that in the days following her shock diagnosis, she looked at Jack, 26, a few times and said, ‘I don’t want to die.’
Dani link (pictured) came to Australia from Ontario, Canada in 2019. She has lived in Byron Bay
Dani Link and her boyfriend Jack (pictured together) met in 2019 while staying at the same hostel in Byron Bay. Dani’s bunk bed was above his
Dani (pictured in Victoria) lives in Byron Bay with her boyfriend Jack and another friend
“I originally felt like everything was going to be okay – that I wasn’t over things for me yet, but I had to accept that this is life-threatening,” she said.
“It’s been a tough week.”
Dani was immediately admitted to Tweed Heads Hospital for her first course of chemo to prevent the disease from spreading beyond the four already affected areas, which will end in 11 days.
She was not given a prognosis or told how far along the illness is, but when she asked doctors if there was a specific reason for her illness, they said it was just bad luck.
Burkitt lymphoma usually affects people with immune-weakening disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause glandular fever.
Pictured: Dani was connecting to machines with her friend Jack, who is from England, outside Tweed Heads Hospital
Dani Link (pictured) was diagnosed with cancer after going to the doctor with a sore throat in February
She said it took a while for her life-threatening diagnosis to materialize, but says she’s feeling positive
Dani said she’s never had glandular fever, but believes her sore throat in February was the result of the Epstein-Barr virus – which attacked her immune system and turned into cancer.
Despite the long struggle ahead, friends and family helped her keep the negative thoughts at bay.
“Jack doesn’t want to show his emotions too much in front of me – the news was hard for him to hear – but he got it better than I did at first. He’s been my rock, ”she said.
There were many tears on the phone when she told her family in Canada that she had a potentially fatal condition, but despite Covid’s limitations, her parents managed to book flights to Australia.
Dani graduated from a university in Canada with a Bachelor of Science majoring in biochemistry
Despite the long struggle ahead, friends and family have helped her keep the negative thoughts at bay. Pictured: Dani link (right) with a friend
Dani has private health insurance in Australia which means about 80 percent of her treatment should be covered
They go into quarantine for two weeks upon arrival and stay with her for a few more weeks while she has multiple rounds of chemotherapy.
Dani has private health insurance in Australia, so about 80 percent of her treatment should be covered, but until she can prove she didn’t have cancer when the policy started six months ago, she’ll have to pay for everything herself.
To help with medical and livelihoods while she is in the hospital, her friends in Byron Bay have one Go finance me campaign.
“I’ve spent about $ 9,000 so far, but the room I’m in costs about $ 900 a night and I have to be here for at least five months,” she said.
Dani (pictured) has a degree in biochemistry and hopes to be able to work in the health sector one day
Pictured: Flowers and get well cards delivered to Dani by her family and friends in Canada and Australia
Dani and Jack planned to get sponsorship from their employers to stay in Australia before Dani’s diagnosis – and those plans haven’t changed.
“Jack is getting sponsorship and hopefully once I’m in remission I can – I really just want to make Australia my permanent home,” she said.
Dani has a degree in biochemistry and hopes to be able to work in the health sector one day.
WHAT IS BURKITT LYMPHOMA?
Burkitt lymphoma is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which cancer starts in immune cells called B cells.
It is a fast-growing human tumor associated with low immunity that can kill quickly if left untreated.
Burkitt lymphoma is linked to a virus called the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This is the virus that causes glandular fever.
Intensive chemotherapy can achieve long-term survival in more than half of people with Burkitt lymphoma.
The symptoms of Burkitt lymphoma depend on the type, but usually start as tumors of the jaw or other facial bones.
It can also affect the gastrointestinal tract, ovaries and breasts and spread to the central nervous system.
Symptoms include: loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, unexplained fever, facial bone deformity, enlarged tonsils or thyroid gland.