Thank you to Aldi and everyone who supported Teenage Cancer Trust’s BBC Lifeline Appeal
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Ricky Wilson says:
To be told as a teenager or young person, during those exciting but difficult years, that you have cancer, must be one of the hardest things to face.
Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity very close to my heart, recognises the unique issues of young people facing a cancer diagnosis and is there, from the outset, to offer much needed support and guidance.
Before Teenage Cancer Trust, young people diagnosed with cancer were more likely to be treated alongside people either much older or younger than themselves and this could make their experience even more frightening and lonely. That’s why the charity funds 28 specialist units around the country to bring teens and young adults together to face the challenges of cancer and be treated by teenage cancer experts in a place designed just for them.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting just a few of the inspirational young people the charity works with, and the incredible Teenage Cancer Trust staff supporting them - I’ve seen how the work they do helps young people through some unimaginably hard times.
Your support for the BBC Lifeline Appeal will help Teenage Cancer Trust reach young people in need, allowing them be treated on units where wonderful friendships are forged, and helped by specialist nurses and youth support teams, who are there for them throughout their difficult journey. Aldi UK have generously pledged to match the first £20,000 raised through the appeal, which means that the value of your gift could be doubled. Together, we will ensure that no young person faces cancer alone.
2020 has been a tough year for Teenage Cancer Trust. When COVID-19 hit, we suddenly lost around half of our income, and are set to lose more than £5million in funding this year. But whatever the crisis we won’t stop, and can’t stop, being there for young people with cancer.
Cerys was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in January 2019 when she was just 13 years old. She went through intensive chemotherapy treatment which caused some terrible side effects, including acute liver failure. She had her leg amputated above the knee to give her the best chance of recovery.
Cerys was treated on Teenage Cancer Trust unit’s at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where she was supported by Youth Support Coordinator, Julie. Julie helped Cerys to meet other young people going through treatment, organising all sorts of events and social activities. She also helped Cerys to deal with the emotional impact of her treatment and was there to talk about difficult subjects like the impact of treatment on her fertility.
Julie has continued to be there for Cerys even after she finished treatment in December 2019. During the pandemic, she has been organising virtual Zoom events to help Cerys stay connected to other young people.
Sue and James
Sue’s son James was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in 2017 when he was 21. Sadly, he died in November 2019.
Sue said: “He went through months of treatment on Teenage Cancer Trust’s unit at The Freeman in Newcastle, and had his right arm and shoulder amputated.”
On the unit, James and Sue and were introduced to Teenage Cancer Trust nurse Nicola. She was always on hand to answer any questions about James’s treatment and side effects and made his experience as comfortable as possible.
After his diagnosis, James took on a huge amount of fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust, even taking on a abseil challenge after his amputation. He also continued playing rugby and was given a ‘sporting hero’ award.
James’s cancer returned in 2019 and he re-started chemo. Sadly, the treatment was unsuccessful, and he died in November 2019, aged 23. Since James’s death, Sue has been continuing James’s legacy by fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust, along with friends, family and their local community.
Mayisha and Sophie
Sophie and Mayisha were treated on Teenage Cancer Trust’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital unit in Birmingham and got chatting to each other whilst they were undergoing chemotherapy together. It was the start of a friendship that supported them at one of the lowest points of their lives and continues to this day.
Being a young person with cancer can be isolating - it’s hard to meet others who understand what you’re going through, whilst your friends move on with their education, careers and relationships. Teenage Cancer Trust’s 28 specialist units offer don’t just offer expert, tailored care to teens and young people with cancer but the chance to meet others in the same situation.
Mayisha’s and Sophie’s friendship helped to them be teenagers, not cancer patients, first and foremost. Through a shared experience of cancer, they supported each other, and became like sisters to each other.