Monday 17th December 2018
Cheltenham College chose Teenage Cancer Trust as their Charity of the Year after Annabella Bifuclo, a student at the college, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2018.
“I had no symptoms at all apart from a small lump in the hollow of my collar bone,” said Annabella.
When they told me I had cancer I felt completely numb, until the fear kicked in. I thought, ‘How far along am I? Was I going to be okay? Was I going to have to say goodbye to my family at 17?’ It was horrible.
Annabella, who goes by Bella, received her treatment at Area 61, our specialist unit in the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre, where she was also supported by a team of specialist staff.
“No matter how hard chemo was, I knew I would be okay there. They were incredible. Every single person in there made every trip bearable and easy. Claire, the Teenage Cancer Trust Clinical Nurse Specialist, would always be on the unit, making sure we were okay individually. I don’t know how I would have coped anywhere else."
Bella finished treatment in April and has returned to school to finish her final year at Cheltenham College. Having witnessed the support and care offered to their classmate, the college prefect team chose Teenage Cancer Trust as their charity and have set themselves a £28,000 target, funding the equivalent of a month’s worth of care for other young people diagnosed with cancer in the South West.
The college have already been raising money through activities like Mufti Day's and almost £5,000 raised from Bella’s charity skydive.
On Thursday 22nd November the Cheltenham College 1st and 2nd XV played Sir Thomas Rich’s School in a charity rugby match, raising further funds by selling branded wristbands and holding a raffle with big prizes, including a pair of Exeter Chiefs tickets and Old Cheltonian Ollie Thorley’s Gloucester Rugby training top.
The 1st XV brought it home with a win and overall the event raised £1,200, bringing the college’s current total to an astonishing £9,000.
Further fundraising events during December are a Christmas Jump day, ‘Heads and Tails’ Christmas Feast and the College Winter Ball.
Dr Adam Dunning, Director of Partnerships & Charities at Cheltenham College, said, “The unanimous choice of the 6th Form Prefects to support the Teenage Cancer Trust has already taken on a life of its own. The sheer enthusiasm and dedication shown by the students has had an inspiring influence on the whole College community. We have many more exciting plans for the coming year, including a Comedy Night, 702km Rowing Challenge and Whole School Zumba Event."
Working with the Teenage Cancer Trust has been an enlightening time for many, and a partnership that we remain fully committed to developing.
“We are so excited to be working with Cheltenham College this year and have been absolutely blown away by their enthusiasm,” said South West Regional Fundraiser, Charlotte Porter. “It’s so inspiring to see how driven the students are and we would like to thank them all so their hard work and efforts into raising this money so far.”