Age: 13

Cancer type: bone cancer

Grace before diagnosisI started experiencing a pain just above my knee when I was 13. It mostly happened when I was lying down in bed and I had it for a couple of months before my mum called the doctors.

They diagnosed me over the phone as having growing pains, they didn't even ask to see me.

The pain continued - we went into the doctors and they sent me for an MRI scan. The results came back two days later and they said that I had osteosarcoma. I didn't know what that meant and my dad had to explain that it was a type of bone cancer. It was scary to hear that - it just wasn't what I expected

I was referred to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Great North Children's Hospital. I was a bit overwhelmed when I first went it, but it was very different to what I expected. I thought hospital was just a place where you go when you are really sick, and you lay in bed and you don't really do anything.

Grace on the Ellen MacArthur sailing tripI learnt that hospitals can be different when there's other young people there and they are happy or trying to be happy.

I had 10 weeks of intense chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, then surgery to take it out, then more chemotherapy - around 30 weeks in total. The nurses were all lovely and made it a bit easier; they knew how to talk to people my age and that really helped

Emma, the Youth Support Coordinator, organised lots of activities like arts and crafts and movie nights to keep us busy and our minds off what was happening. This allowed me to make friends with the other young people. Emma also arranged for me to go on the Ellen MacArthur sailing trip, which was great.

Grace during treatmentIt helped having friends going through similar experiences as they knew what was happening to me and I didn't have to explain things.

I also went to Find Your Sense of Tumour. We had a fancy-dress disco one evening with a circus theme - I went as a trapeze artist and it was really fun. I went to a lot of the talks too and they were very good.

I was a bit out of my comfort zone at FYSOT as I didn't know anybody else who went, but I got to know a lot of people by the end of it. It was great to be with a group of people who I could relate to.