Young people and cancer. (Sam’s Story)

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have become very aware of the growing needs for support, on behalf of young people dealing with a cancer diagnosis.I also know from the feedback that I am receiving, that this blog is getting an increasing younger audience now, which is fantastic.

Of course, social media is just one part of the story, but it’s importance is growing rapidly. It enables like minded people to be able to communicate, share experiences, and support each other. It is also helping organisations stay in touch, with the people that need them. My experience with this blog has shown how sharing experiences has helped many readers deal with some of their own issues. In fact what we have all found is that writing things down for others to read can be very satisfying.

Sam was directed to this blog via Twitter and we have been communicating since. We both agree that we would like to encourage more young people to share their stories, so Sam decided to write this inspiring post

“Living with lymphoma isn’t the funnest experience I’ve had in my 19 years of living. I would say that my lucky experiences with travelling were my favourite and most enjoyable. I’ve been to Disney world, Disneyland, Rome, the Caribbean, Portugal, Paris, Pisa. I’ve been fortunate enough (or spoilt) to go to see some amazing sights. The Colosseum in Rome, sea turtles in Barbados, Woody and Buzz in Disney world, the list goes on. Being fortunate enough to see so much of the world from a young age, gave me a bit of a travel bug. After going on a cruise in the Caribbean and always loving the ocean, I decided the Royal Navy was my latest “what I want to be when I grow up”.
Moving a few years on, I went to college having forgotten my Naval dreams, & I studied sports in the hope it would get me into Camp America, and I could go and make some friends from all over and see some beautiful sights in the US. By the time I’d finished, I had plans to go to university to study psychology of sport (never knew what I was thinking at all!). So I did my year at university and I hated it, and early on in 2012 my desire to join the Royal Navy seemed more realistic, and a lot of fun. In the summer I spoke to a Royal Navy officer and got my application pack, and looked for a job in the mean time. I’d had a cold for a while so it was taking me a while to get the ball rolling.

Then I found my lump and my tests began and by mid August I started to get worried I had something that was on the medical bars list for the Navy and I lost it, throwing things around my room and crying – I thought my dreams had been shattered. So when I was actually diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on the 22nd of August, went into a weird mode in my brain. It didn’t really twig I had cancer,except for the times I thought about the Royal Navy, and how cancer was on the medical bars list, (unless you’re considered cured for a certain amount of time you can’t join).
Since my treatment, and knowing that I’m one of the lucky cancer patients that has a time scale on their chemo, and hopefully remission at the end of that, I’ve again been “fortunate” enough to plan my time after February. Yes I will have check ups and tests and such, but I’ll have my life back. I’ll be free to go out in public more, and party and travel! And that is exactly what I plan on doing. Me and my girlfriend are planning a weekend away to Disney Land Paris, I keep getting majorly excited because I love Disney land and she’s never been so it’ll be great to take her.
This post all comes down to one thing. Despite the fact I am ill and I have cancer,and I’m only 19 and I’ve never really had a job, and don’t have one for at the end of my treatment – I am lucky! I am so lucky you wouldn’t believe. In our youth cancer community, I talk to so many people who have it worse off than me. Don’t get me wrong it’s NOT a breeze, it’s incredibly hard but I find some sort of self comfort in the fact that it’s not as bad for me as it is for some of my fellow sufferers.
I have hope, love, I don’t have to pay for my treatment and I’m well supported by charities and the government. I’ve spoke to terminally ill people, people who have to pay for their medical treatment, people who can’t work and can’t claim for money and don’t have the support they need financially or emotionally in some cases. And it’s an incredibly sad state of affairs.
But if a good thing comes from any of our cancer experiences it’s an increased sense of compassion we behold. I know that even though I’m lucky enough to go travelling and have my life at the end of this, I’m going to do everything I can to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, Clic Sargent, Teenage Cancer Trust, Lymphoma Association, Cancer Research UK and maybe even smaller charities such and Reubens Retreat & Richards Wish.

It’s the least I can do after the help and support I have had from them.Worthwhile causes that mean a lot to me and my family, will benefit from the fact I had a crap 6 months that they helped me through. Everyone’s a winner (sort of).”

I would like to thank Sam for sharing her story and you can follow her progress through her own blog .If you would like to share your experience, please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below or through Twitter @christheeagle1

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