Tuesday 27th February 2018
My daughter Hannah was diagnosed with cancer in when she was 17.
She was studying for her A-levels, and enjoying life like any typical 17-year-old. She had been experiencing pain in her lower back, but thought it was due to muscle strain or a trapped nerve. Our GP at the time wasn't being that helpful, so diagnosis was late, but eventually we got the news that she had Ewing sarcoma in her sacral area (lower back).
The news was a big shock to us all, and I don't think I fully came to terms with it for a long time. She was initially sent to an orthopaedic hospital in Oxford. The doctors were excellent, but weren’t accustomed to dealing with teenagers with cancer. It was the worst time imaginable.
We were transferred back to Bristol after 3 weeks, Hannah was put on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Bristol and everything changed. As soon as we walked through the door we had the most fantastic support from everyone, and most of all, we were given hope that she might be ok. It made a massive difference to have other parents and teenagers to talk to who were going through similar experiences.
We had room for me or Ken to stay with Hannah, and a separate area that we could escape to make a coffee or have a chat. The Youth Support Coordinators were also fabulous. Hannah really enjoyed the craft and make-up demos that were organised, and they also worked with her school so that she could continue studying for her A-levels.
Hannah had several long stays on the unit, so all of this additional support made a huge difference, to help her carry on with life as normally as possible. Our terrible year was made so much more bearable by the wonderful people of Teenage Cancer Trust.
She spent the next 12 months receiving gruelling and intensive treatment, including chemotherapy and proton radiotherapy. Thankfully it worked.
Hannah has been clear for over 12 months now. She’s fit and well, and loving life studying languages at Nottingham University. Throughout her treatment she was incredibly brave, remaining positive even in the hardest of times. I couldn't be more proud, and thinking back to that really motivates me to take on this crazy challenge.
I wanted to do a big fundraiser to give something back to Teenage Cancer Trust. I've done plenty of running, but not so much cycling, and I've managed to convince my husband and friends to join me in the London 2 Paris cycle challenge! Hannah thinks we're all a little bit mad to take it on.
Knowing that Teenage Cancer Trust only reaches half the young people with cancer spurred us on to take on the challenge. We want to help the charity reach many more, and although the 330-mile bike ride will be tough for all of us, it will be nothing compared to the ordeal that so many teenagers go through.
We had a very difficult year, but we're so thankful for the help from Teenage Cancer Trust. We were incredibly lucky that Hannah's treatment worked, and to have a Teenage Cancer Trust unit in our nearest hospital. I can't imagine going through all of that without their support.
You can support Amanda's fundraising here, to help ensure no young person faces cancer alone