Two years and two weeks ago, aged 14, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Osteosarcoma which is cancer of my left femur. I then had 10 weeks of chemo, before my operation which was followed by a further 20 weeks of chemo.
This was a daunting thought after the hideous first round. Although I may look fine, I have been left with two metal rods, half a metal bone in my leg and a huge emotional scar.
I still have to go to hospital for frequent checkups and scans. It was towards the end of my treatment that I had the fortune of meeting Debbie from Teens Unite who insisted that I became a member of the charity as up to that point I had no support or opportunities and she thought she could help me.
When I was in hospital I looked forward to seeing Debbie on the ward as I could say anything to her and she would always be honest and know what to say. Teens Unite has helped to put happiness back into my life and has given me experiences that will always stay with me. For example, in December I went to Lee Valley Athletics Centre and spent a day with Dwain Chambers. This was a particularly special day for me as it gave me the chance to catch up with a friend I met during treatment who is still ill. It was his first day out of hospital for six months.
Teens Unite offers another ‘friend’ if you like, that you can talk to and share problems with when you don’t want to talk to your family and friends about it. Equally it gives you the chance to forget about your problems if you want to. They also always give you space if you need it so you only go along to their events when you want to, there’s no pressure that you have to go. The opportunities are endless with wellness days, concerts, football and art workshops to name a few. This gives us teens the opportunity to do things that we usually wouldn’t be able or afford to do and meet people we otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet. Being a member of Teens Unite gives you the freedom to enjoy things in a time when you can’t really enjoy yourself otherwise.
A year ago, before I met the Teens Unite team, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to stand up here and talk to you now. My involvement the charity has really helped me to make that transition from being a patient and going back into the real world. It has also made realise what is really important in life. So, I would like to thank you all for coming and Soccer Elite for putting on this wonderful evening in support of all these amazing charities. I would also like to finish by thanking Debbie and Karen for setting up Teens Unite as it helps so many people like myself.