Being diagnosed with cancer as a young adult is shocking to say the least. One minute you’re worrying about a-levels and university and whether or not that bright blue eyeliner really suits you; the next you’re thrust into a world of blood tests, hospitals, and what seems a revolving door of medical professionals all looking at you like you’re a brand new baby panda at a zoo.
I had been initially diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when I was 12 but after 3 years of remission and ‘normal life’ I suffered a relapse at the age of 18, just on the cusp of adulthood. Because my cancer was blood related and I needed a bone marrow transplant I had to spend up to 6 weeks at a time in hospital. Luckily this turned out to be a less scary and daunting environment to be in than what I expected. Due to the advice and support I was given by CLIC Sargent. My CLIC Sargent social worker at Belfast City Hospital: Laurena Kane simply couldn’t do enough for me, she was so friendly and understanding it almost felt like I had a second mother! Through her and another of the social workers – Simon Darby – I found out more about the organisation and all the great work that CLIC Sargent does for children and young people with cancer right across the UK.
Since then I have stayed active with the charity by being a part of their ‘Young Persons Reference Forum’ where we give our opinions and discuss the directions in which the charity is heading (the meetings are usually in London so it’s a nice experience to get to go over.) I am also a part of their online community where young people who have had cancer can talk to others in a similar situation which is great as it helps to know that you are not the only one going through it, even though it may feel that way. I have also helped with naming and planning ‘Amy’s House’ CLIC Sargent’s ‘home away from home’ in Belfast.
CLIC Sargent have helped me develop and grow as a person in so many ways and I would really like to thank Metcalfes Skinny for all their support that they give to the charity as they really do help children and young people through most likely the toughest time of their life.