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Halfway to Venus Review (Telegraph)


As a child, writer Sarah Anderson had her arm amputated. Her stiff-upper-lip family never spoke of the trauma – and nor did she. Denial came at a cost, she tells Cassandra Jardine

Shortly before Sarah Anderson’s 10th birthday, the first lump was found just below the elbow of her left arm.

For the next seven months, she was in and out of Great Ormond Street Hospital, having tumours removed and receiving chemotherapy. Finally, her mother said she wanted to have a word with her. Closing the door of their Knightsbridge drawing room, she turned to her daughter and silently, with her right hand, made a chopping motion.

“No – anything but that!” Sarah screamed, knowing this meant her arm was to be amputated.

Fifty years on, she remembers the moment vividly. “I can still feel it as a child feels it, and it’s chilling,” she says, sitting with her right shoulder towards me and her left discreetly out of view… article continues on the Telegraph website