Age: 21

Cancer type: skin cancer

I hadn’t been to any face-to-face events as coronavirus struck not long after I was diagnosed. The online support from Teenage Cancer Trust was incredible though. When I saw an advert for virtual FYSOT, I signed up straight away.

Throughout the weekend there were lots of webinars and then we’d jump back into Zoom groups. I’d already met some people in my group so that helped me settle in, but it was good to meet some new young people too.

Usually when I’m part of online game nights with my regional group, we have nice chats, but the breakout sessions at FYSOT helped us have more meaningful conversations. The sessions on mindfulness and resilience allowed us to open up about mental health.

I still go for scans and waiting for them makes me really nervous. I was also told when I was diagnosed that the cancer probably wasn’t because of anything I’d done, but that it could have been. I tend to put quite a bit of blame on myself anyway, and I found that difficult.

So I was particularly interested in the sessions at virtual FYSOT on being kind to yourself. I’ve had cognitive behavioural therapy, but this really helped me build on that and come up with new techniques to help cope with worries and anxiety.

Overall I thought the event was amazing. I can’t believe how much thought and planning went into it. I was worried I’d be glued to the computer the whole time and I’d get a bit lethargic. But there were sessions where we were online in our group and could talk and listen, but instead of just staring at the screen we were doing things like drawing or making models out of plasticine.

It almost felt like we were sat together in person. It’s great that I’ve extended my friendship circle with people who can relate to what I’ve been through.