Welcome to the last Impact Young Heroes newsletter for 2012.
Well, the Christmas period is well and truly upon us and it is only a few more shopping days to the big event. The shopping centers are full and the sales have commenced. Pantos, Children’s nativity plays and Christmas parties are all in full swing and Christmas cheer is being spread far and wide. It’s also the last minute rush to purchase those presents that have somehow been forgotten, write Christmas cards and post them before the post office deadlines and also to catch up with friends we have not seen for a while.
However, Christmas can also be a difficult and lonely time for some people for many reasons; including illness, bereavement, family issues, lack of finance or even homelessness. It’s these times when we all need to help each other and it’s usually the small things that make the biggest difference. A simple phone call, the impromptu visit, the text or Facebook message and where possible practical help and this is the foundation on which Young Heroes is built.
In 2012, we have worked with a number of young people and their families, to make a big difference when it’s really been needed. We have supported them in many different ways but we couldn’t do this without the help of those who support and donate to the work of Young Heroes. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your generosity, kindness and willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ with us. I hope that this carries through into 2013 and that we can support many more young people, who need a little bit of a Young Heroes touch.
This Christmas, our thoughts are with The Taylor Family, as they face their first Christmas without Chris and we send our love and best wishes to them at this time. In this edition of the makeabigdifference newsletter, we share what Chris meant to us and how he found hope in the middle of his battle with cancer.
We also have an article from Cancer Research UK, with some helpful tips on coping with Christmas when you have cancer. We have taken a break from the usual fundraising idea of the month articles but these will return in the New Year, when we hope you will be inspired to makeabigdifference and help us to support young people who are living with cancer.
p.s I am doing a ‘Cardless Christmas’ this year, so if you can’t decide whether to write Christmas cards or not, there is another option available and any monies donated will be used to provide a special treat for a number of young people who really need something special to look forward to.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and also a prosperous New Year.
Sharon and the Young Heroes team.
This Christmas; I am aiming to raise funds to provide ‘special days out’ for a number of young people, who are currently undergoing treatment. As you can probably imagine, a cancer diagnosis, or continued treatment is difficult at any time but at this time of year, it can be particularly difficult.
We cannot begin to imaging how stressful it is for young people or their families, when they are going through cancer treatment and never ending hospital appointments; however, we can help to makeabigdifference by doing something nice to bring a little joy this Christmas.
By having a ‘Cardless Christmas’, we can donate the money we spend on Christmas cards and really makeabigdifference by providing a special day out for a young person who really needs something to look forward to. All you need to do is click here: this link will take you straight to the Just Giving page where you can donate. So please, dig as deep as you are able to and forward the Impact Young Heroes ‘Cardless Christmas’ link to as many people as you can. Every £1 donated helps and for a little as £100 we can do something; which will makeabigdifference to a young person who really needs our help.
Cheeky Chappie Chris!
12th March 1989 to 4th December 2012
Christopher Michael Taylor was only 14 years old when he first had cancer in his right leg; bringing to an abrupt halt his hopes of playing football, for a while at least. Surgery was followed by chemotherapy, but his tumour returned a few years later necessitating surgery to remove his right leg. Emotionally as well as physically this was very traumatic for Chris, but he put a brave face on life although he found it very difficult to meet people publicly who he didn’t know.
On his holiday in Lanzarote with us he came alive at night and on one occasion we had to sing happy birthday and order him a cocktail, so that some girls would look our way and join us. Another night Bev and I were out looking in the night clubs and bars for Chris and his friend, phoning them to say we had found some pretty girls in one bar or another.
Chris was a very private person, but on the grapevine we heard the name Sarah was mentioned together with a miracle which turned out to be his eldest son Jack. Chris had been told that his aggressive chemotherapy would most probably prevent him ever being a dad, but blessings do happen, and the second blessing came after Jack arrived safe and well
On one occasion before he met Sarah, he came to stay with us in Stillington with Rick, “Mrs Carer”, and on the Saturday evening we were joined by our daughter Faye to sample the night life in York. For Chris it was a tense time, because we had to sit away from people near the door so that he could get out without people making comments or asking awkward questions. The occasion moved Faye to tears, literally, and at Christmas she dressed up as a fairy and collected over £200 from the students and her colleagues at York St John so that Chris could have an enjoyable Christmas.
Throughout the ebbs and flows of his life, Christ never lost his enthusiasm for his favourite team, the boys in blue at Manchester City. This support was rewarded recently when, unbeknown to Chris a stream of players, three in fact, visited him on his wedding day last month. It was a thrill and an honour which meant so much to Chris and his family that people, held in such high esteem, could visit him on his special day.
Sadly his struggle with cancer which had spread to his lungs could not be treated any more, but he became the proud dad to his youngest son Chris who arrived a few months ago. He was another blessing to add to those of Sarah and Jack, but his lasting blessing to all who knew him was his sense of humour and the love with which he touched us
Chris will never be forgotten, only loved for making such a big difference to all of us.
‘The lads’ (pictured above) first met Chris in 2009; when he spent a few days with his new found friends from Impact Living, who had arranged a last minute break. Young Heroes arranged for Chris to join ‘the lads’ on a well deserved break and to give him a chance to unwind and have fun. Chris had wanted some space and time to get away from everything and everyone around him, not in a bad way but just for some time on his own and to chill out.
Chris had initially said that he was quite nervous about meeting the lads as anyone would be meeting a bunch of lads who they did not know but after he started talking to them he said he found that they were all good lads and that he could have a laugh with them. According to Chris and the lads, they had a very memorable week including some “cracking nights out”, some really nice meals and a good laugh on the dance floor. Chris had said he really connected with them all, particularly John Doran and Steven Wright. Chris had said It was a great break and that he was really glad he went and it cleared his head so much and he was grateful to all the lads and of course Impact Young Heroes for arranging it. Even though this break took place 3 years ago, Chris had a real impact on all of the lads and they all thought highly of him. We can truly say that Chris was a real inspiration to us all and we are so privileged to have known him.
Coping with Christmas when you have cancer
Issues at Christmas
Many of us associate Christmas with seeing family and friends, parties, and lots of eating and drinking. When you have cancer, you may tire more easily. Your cancer or treatment may mean that you have trouble joining in with all the festive eating and drinking. This page has information about how to cope so that you can make the most of the celebrations.
Eating and drinking
Many people who have cancer have few or no problems related to eating but some do. These problems may include loss of appetite, feeling sick, constipation or taste changes. At Christmas you may have added pressure from friends and family who want you to eat something when you may not want to.
There are a few things you can do to deal with eating problems. Even if you aren’t able to eat as much as normal you can still join in. There is more information about diet problems and cancer in the coping with cancer section.
If you have a specific problem, talk to your doctor or nurse before Christmas to try to sort things out. For example, if you feel sick you might need to make sure you have enough anti sickness medicines for the whole holiday.
Cooking can put you off eating and sometimes the smell can make sickness worse. Try to get someone else to cook for you. If someone else is cooking and serving your meal, ask for a small portion. You can always go back for more if you want it.
Many people like to have a glass of wine or other alcohol at Christmas. This can help you to relax as well. Generally, the odd glass of wine or beer isn’t a problem but check with your doctor or specialist nurse if you are having treatment. Alcohol can sometimes interfere with how cancer drugs work or may make you feel very sick.
Tiredness can be a problem for people with cancer during and after treatment. Try to rest when you need to. And don’t feel embarrassed if you do need to rest. Having visitors or going to see people can be very tiring and friends and family will understand. If you do tire easily, try to pace yourself throughout the day by alternating activities and rest.
Having a rest in the middle of the morning and the afternoon may help you to cope with the busier and more sociable times during the day, such as Christmas lunch. If you are invited to parties it may help to have a rest beforehand and perhaps only go for a short time. CancerHelp UK has detailed information about coping with tiredness.
Christmas is often an emotional time even when you don’t have cancer. We often take stock of the year and our lives. And if you have cancer it can be a reminder that you aren’t as healthy as you once were or would like to be. So you may feel a range of emotions.
Everyone will react, and cope, in their own way. Some people just want to forget all about their cancer for the holiday season. Others see it as a time to move forward with the New Year and, if possible, celebrate putting the cancer behind them. Some people need time to think about what they have been through and what may happen in the future.
There is no right or wrong way to feel. You may find that partners and other members of the family have some of the same feelings as you. Talking through how you feel with someone close can help. You can find more information about your emotions and cancer in CancerHelp UK.
It is good to plan ahead before Christmas actually happens. Your doctors and nurses may take time off, so it is worth finding out beforehand who you should contact if you have a problem and how you can contact them. There will be a doctor and nurse on call.
If you have had tests before Christmas, check with your doctor about when you will get the results. Waiting for results is often very difficult emotionally. If you’ve had tests just before Christmas, the results may be delayed over the holiday period. If you know when you will get the results, it may make waiting seem easier.
Tips for coping at Christmas
Here are some tips which may help you at Christmas time
- Plan ahead and find out who to contact if you have a problem
- Make sure you have enough of any prescription medicines you need
- Pace yourself and try not to get over tired
- Just do as much as you feel like doing
- Let other people do things for you
- Ask for small portions if you need to
- Have snacks available
- Enjoy yourself
Article taken from Cancer Research UK website
Update on Impact Living
Over the years, Impact Living has supported Young Heroes in many ways and this has included provision of supported accommodation to a number of young people who were living with cancer. Over the last 3 years of this recessionary period; Impact Living has managed to reduce its costs and become more efficient to support more vulnerable young people, who need help to live independently.
Impact Living is pleased to inform all of its supporters that Lloyds TSB are helping to reduce Impact’s costs even more, by refinancing a number of schemes worth over £1,200, 000. This will save tens of thousands of pounds annually, over the next few years. This also means that Impact Living can look to develop new schemes and identify new services to young people and this will also benefit Young Heroes.
Young Heroes is grateful for Impact Living’s support and wishes them all the best for this coming year.