Savoula’s Story

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My name is Savoula Neofitou, I’m 20 years old. My experience of battling cancer started off with a fall I had whilst I was in primary school playing on the apparatus. I hit my back on the edge of the slide, screaming in pain! I remember my face going red and loosing my breath. My back was still hurting when I got home so my mum rang the ambulance as I was in that much pain I couldn’t even walk up the road. We went up to my local hospital several times but they kept sending me home with painkillers. At this point my body was in agony my back and stomach were hunchback where I couldn’t walk without being in pain. It wasn’t till the 5th time me & my mum went up to A&E that they finally did a full blood test on me. This was when I found out about the devastating news that I had cancer.

I was diagnosed with (ALL) Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in January 2005 at the age of 10. I was treated at The Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton where I went through chemo & radiotherapy and had several lumber puncture operations which I hated. I had operations to insert two central lines under the skin of my chest for treatments such as chemotherapy, blood transfusions and to take blood tests. My hair started to fall out shortly after which made me feel self conscious but the consultants reassured me not to worry as it will grow back. I was given a bandanna wig for the mean time to wear. Later that year I had a donor stem cell transplant in December 2005 as I was at high risk of having a relapse, the doctors found me a female donor from Germany that was a perfect match for me. I was in isolation over the Christmas period for six weeks which was disappointing but my family were still able to see me on Christmas day that brought good spirits. The bone marrow transplant had a lot of side affects which made me feel really ill. Once I was discharged I had to rest at home for 3 months due to catching viruses and risk of infections. Then when I was 12 years old I was eager to go back to school so my social worker agreed this was ok, I was back at school and happy to be reunited with my friends. I was reassured in 2009 when the consultants told me I was in remission, they were very pleased with my progress and so they followed me up with outpatient appointments to see me every 6 months to then a year. I am hugely grateful for all that the doctors and nurses have done for me they’ve been a great support and encouragement. 10 years on, I am now living a positive healthy happy life with all the great people around me. I am proud to say that I BEAT CANCER!!!

Teens unite is an incredible charity that support and help young people like me that have gone through cancer and different illnesses. There’s only a few charities that actually continue to support teenagers between the age of 13-24 years that are either in remission or currently going through cancer. My favourite aspect of being part of Teens Unite is being able to meet other young people with similar illnesses where you can be yourself and feel comfortable sharing personal stories with other teens that have battled cancer. I love taking part in the events they provide for teens as they bring a boost of joy and motivation. Joining Teens Unite has had a massive impact on my life creating a positive, fun atmosphere to be around. I have had an amazing time with Teens Unite, meeting new friends and experiencing new challenges. Thank you for all that you do for us and I look forward to many more fun events with you. Thank you Teens Unite!