I felt mis­er­able... but Teenage Can­cer Trust made it more bear­able

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

TEENAGE Can­cer Trust is the only UK char­ity meeting the need for spe­cialised nurs­ing and emo­tional sup­port for 13 to 24-year-olds.

But cur­rently it can only help half of young peo­ple with can­cer. It needs YOUR sup­port to main­tain 28 units and fund the spe­cial­ist nurs­ing staff who help run them.

And the char­ity needs to fund an out­reach nurs­ing and sup­port ser­vice to help young peo­ple un­able to ac­cess a unit.

It costs £25 to fund a Teenage Can­cer Trust youth sup­port co-or­di­na­tor for one hour. These ex­perts help young peo­ple share their ex­pe­ri­ences with each other, talk about their fears and, in this way, help them gain some con­trol over can­cer in a re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment.

To fund a nurse spe­cial­ist for one hour pro­vid­ing di­rect and age-spe­cific care and sup­port to young­sters costs £30. Whether you can give £2.50 or £25, £30 or £3, your vi­tal do­na­tion will help the Teenage Can­cer Trust #GiveAnHour of sup­port to young peo­ple with can­cer across the UK.

Owen says char­ity helps dur­ing chemo OWEN Bent­ley knows how vi­tal the Teenage Can­cer Trust can be when fac­ing the ter­ri­fy­ing or­deal of a can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

He was told he had acute lym­phoblas­tic leukaemia in early 2018 at 17 af­ter suf­fer­ing leg pains for a year. Owen was treated on the Teenage Can­cer Trust unit at the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal Birm­ing­ham, where he has re­ceived four rounds of chemo­ther­apy and a stem cell trans­plant this year.

Now 18, the for­mer stu­dent had a stem cell top-up this week and is hop­ing to be put in re­mis­sion in 2019. He said the Teenage Can­cer Trust helped him through a very hard year.

“When I was di­ag­nosed it was a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence. I be­gan chemo­ther­apy days later. Soon af­ter I came down with a chest in­fec­tion and con­junc­tivi­tis. I felt aw­ful, just so mis­er­able,” said Owen of Can­nock, West Mids. “But the Teenage Can­cer Trust made it more bear­able. There was a pizza night and break­fast morn­ing on the unit.

“They helped keep my mind off the can­cer a bit, which was good.”

It helped hav­ing peo­ple the same age to talk to OWEN ON TEENAGE CAN­CER TRUST UNIT


Owen had his stem cell trans­plant in Au­gust and spent a month in hos­pi­tal in iso­la­tion to avoid get­ting in­fec­tions. He said:

“I spent my 18th birth­day there with only close fam­ily al­lowed to visit. My grandad couldn’t come as he had a cold. It was re­ally rough.”

He was dis­charged af­ter the trans­plant but read­mit­ted in Septem­ber for nine days with an in­fec­tion. “When I was dis­charged again the char­ity’s key sup­port co-or­di­na­tor Sarah texted to see how I was – it’s nice to know she’s al­ways there if I need her,” he said. “I’ve spent time on nor­mal wards too, but be­cause I was 17 nurses never knew whether to put me with chil­dren or adults – or how to treat me.

“But at the unit there was a girl a year younger than me and shortly af­ter that a lad the same age. It re­ally helped hav­ing peo­ple to talk to.”

His mum Lucy, 50, said: “The Teenage Can­cer Trust helps par­ents too. You can speak to other par­ents about what you and your fam­ily are go­ing through, know­ing they get it. And the nurses take the time to chat. It makes the whole thing more man­age­able.”

Owen is pos­i­tive about the New Year. “It will be nice to be able to re­lax and cel­e­brate,” he said.

Molly made friends as she bat­tled her can­cer All clear and up for Christ­masGRATE­FUL

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