Getting through cancer: thank you to my Youth Support Coordinator Rónán



Eilidh spent a large part of her teenage years having treatment for leukaemia followed by thyroid cancer. Her Youth Support Coordinator Rónán, and her friendships with others on the ward, helped her feel more ‘normal’ and less alone.

Teenage Cancer Trust have played a huge part in my life after facing my cancer diagnosis – especially Rónán Kelly.

Rónán was my Youth Support Coordinator at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. He swooped into my life like a superhero when I was a patient on the Schiehallion Ward (the cancer ward). He is a real life angel! Everyone needs a Rónán in their life.

Eilidh and her Youth Support Coordinator Ronan

When I received my diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, I experienced an overwhelming amount of anger, I suppose at the world, and went into denial about what was happening to me.

I remember so clearly Rónán coming to visit me in my room. He was so upbeat trying to keep my spirits high, and told me whenever I was ready I could come and see the Teenage Cancer Trust lounge.

I distanced myself from cancer as much as I could, because I didn’t want to become the ‘picture of cancer’, which in my head meant not meeting other teens with cancer.

It was summertime when I was diagnosed, and Rónán brought me a Magnum ice lolly to eat in his blue lumberjack shirt. It was probably the first time I smiled and spoke to him. He was always there for me even if I pushed him away.

Rónán was always there for me even if I pushed him away.

Eilidh and her Youth Support Coordinator Ronan

After being in intensive care for two months after my cancer battle took a turn for the worse, I was so happy to return back to the Schiehallion Ward. One of the first things I said was “where’s Rónán?!” and that is when I found someone I never knew I needed in my life.

The Teenage Cancer Trust lounge was somewhere I went to feel normal. At the time I was in hospital, I was the only girl, but somehow Rónán made my time with the boys comfortable and we all became so close.

Nurses came in and out when our drip stands were beeping, but that just became background noise, a blur, because I just remember the laughter.

Rónán stopped me from being alone because he gave me the boys and my friendships with each one of them. It didn’t take long until the boys became my best friends. It makes me emotional thinking about them because I just have so much love for them all. Without them I would have been completely lost.

The idea of leaving the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at the children’s hospital broke my heart, so I clung on for dear life. It was like a home from home – they were all family to me. Cancer connected us all and gave us this special underlying bond.

Not many words can describe Rónán. He is the perfect person for the job he does. His unusual Irish sayings never fail to make me laugh – he is just a big kid at heart. He was always a shoulder to cry on if I felt the world was falling apart around me. To me he is Teenage Cancer Trust.

Eilidh and her Youth Support Coordinator Ronan