Before I was diagnosed, my first year at university in Liverpool was going really well and I was having a brilliant time studying songwriting and performance. I had a great group of friends, loved the city and was enjoying being an independent 19-year-old.
I knew I needed my family around me during treatment, so I decided to go back to my hometown. I was transferred to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Leicester Royal Infirmary the same day I was diagnosed.
Lois, Teenage Cancer Trust’s Youth Support Coordinator, has been fantastic – I chat to her a lot. She was always there when I needed to talk, but she also introduced me to other patients so I could talk to people my age who were going through a similar experience. I made a lot of friends and that helped during the treatment.
I started the maintenance stage of my chemo around the start of this year and I should be on that until June 2021. That’s meant to be easier as you have lower doses of chemo, but I developed septic arthritis in my shoulder, so I needed an operation.
Not being able to play guitar after that was gutting – it wasn’t really until the lockdown started in March that I finally picked it up properly and was able to play again.
It was a bittersweet moment – I hadn’t played or sung for months – and I was worried that I wouldn’t be any good anymore. But it was an amazing feeling and made me realise how far I’d come.
During treatment I’d jotted down lyrics here and there about what was happening to me. As I had to shield at home during the pandemic, I had more time on my hands, and I started to put them together to music. My new single, The Game, is the result. It’s about how overcoming obstacles in life is like overcoming different levels on a game.
A close friend of mine from the Teenage Cancer Trust unit passed away in May during lockdown. He was an absolutely amazing person and being able to talk to him about treatment helped me through a lot of painful days. It was heart-breaking when he passed – being able to speak to Lois about it really helped me.
It makes me upset when people refer to someone as ‘having lost their battle’. We have no control over what happens to us, whether we live or die. We just play the game as best we can and that’s what the song is about – but really, anyone going through struggles in life will be able to identify with the lyrics.