'I had never experienced pain like it' - brave Verity battles ovarian cancer and thanks Weston theatre group for support

PUBLISHED: 20:00 02 September 2017

Verity with Natalia Barrett and Anna Coleman from Re: Act Theatre and her mum Lydia Barker.

Verity with Natalia Barrett and Anna Coleman from Re: Act Theatre and her mum Lydia Barker.


A brave 17-year-old who is battling ovarian cancer says she has been 'overwhelmed' after her theatre school put on a concert especially for her, and continues to help her through her treatment.

Verity Barker has been performing with Re:Act Theatre in Weston-super-Mare for a number of years but her life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just a few months ago – something which is rare in women under 40.

Just 94 cases a year occur in UK women aged 20 and under, out of more than 7,000 women who are diagnosed with the disease, which is just over one per cent.

Verity told the Mercury she has never experienced pain like she has in the past few months but she ‘thought they were cysts’ and never expected it to be cancer.

She said: “I found a lump in my hip in March and went to the doctors and eventually had some scans. I was in so much pain one night, I was rushed to A&E as we thought it might be appendicitis.

“I just thought it was cysts but I remember being in the waiting room and seeing leaflets about cancer, but it still didn’t cross my mind.

“They found tumours by my liver and I had an operation but two weeks later they returned.”

The cancer was returning at such an alarming rate, doctors told Verity she must have chemotherapy, which she is set to start in the next couple of weeks.

However, theatre remains one of Verity’s passions and she has still been attending rehearsals when she feels up to it.

Re:Act director Natalia Barrett said she has been blown away by Verity’s strength and wanted to help her through this tough time.

She said: “We wanted to do something and our Viva Verity night at The Princess Theatre, in Burnham, was an extremely emotional night.

“Amazingly, Verity sang Slipping Through My Fingers and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

“We just want to help with hospital visits and car parking charges – things people don’t realise all add up. We are also raising money for The Teenage Cancer Trust.”

Lydia Barker, Verity’s mum, said this is the hardest time of her life but she has been touched by the support.

She said: “I hadn’t really broken down but seeing everyone there for her was just amazing. I cannot thank Re:Act enough.”

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