Introduction for March Newsletter
Welcome to the March edition of the makeabigdifference newsletter. With spring now upon us, not only can we can look forward to sunnier skies and warmer temperatures, but the start of this seasons respite breaks for young people living with, or affected by cancer.
Young Heroes currently run the respite breaks on a regular basis but we would love the opportunity to provide more breaks for young people who are referred to us. We have been advised that more referrals can be made to Young Heroes but for Young Heroes to meet the demand, we need to raise more funds. Whilst our support services, accommodation, one off gifts and great days out are imperative, we find the respite breaks are a big part of our success; allowing families to ‘recharge their batteries’, have fun, relax, explore and generally enjoy a stress-free break away from difficult times.
We are always looking for individuals, groups and organisations to partake in fundraising activities or sponsorships, so if you think you can help or would like further information regarding the charity, donations or even fundraising ideas, please contact either myself or Sharon Brown on 01142 43 18 50.
With respite breaks in mind, you can read the story of a wonderful young man called Adam Barrett who last year enjoyed a break in Lanzarote with a group of his friends. He opens up about being diagnosed with cancer, life during treatment and his outlook on life.
Also featured in this month’s newsletter we announce the grand total from Miss Whiplashes hike, the Brooman family’s fundraising event, Trudie Newlove’s training for her marathon and Katie’s corner which this month looks at possible side effects from chemo.
Until next month, enjoy
Well Done Charlie
This time last year Charlie Massey aka Miss Whiplash, from Bedfordshire had begun her intense training for her 26 mile charity walk in aid of Young Heroes.
When setting her fundraising target of ?2200 (the cost of a Young Heroes respite break) little did she expect the overwhelming support and response she would receive both before and after the event which helped push Charlie to her goal and indeed beyond.
Yes Charlie’s sponsored walk has raised a whopping ?2739.00 in total!
This is a phenomenal amount of money and Young Heroes are most grateful to Charlie and to all who contributed; allowing a young person living with cancer to enjoy a dream break abroad this season.
Well done everyone!
Young Heroes volunteer and fellow columnist Katie Brooman will be hosting a fantastic fundraising event next month along with mum Lyn and dad Brian.
The event is being held at Steep Lane Baptist Church, Sowerby Bridge on Saturday 10th April 2010 at 2.30pm and promises to be a delightful afternoon of classic Cream Teas, mouth-watering Cakes, fundraising stalls and inspiring talks from Katie herself and Bev and Rob Law.
All monies raised from the event will help pay for a young person’s respite break this season; allowing them and their close family to enjoy a relaxing, stress free and memorable break at a time when most needed, as the Brooman family experienced back in May 2008.
Its going to be a great afternoon so why not join us and help fundraise for an amazing cause.
For those who are unable to attend but would still like to contribute, Katie has set up a JustGiving page
http://www.justgiving.com/Katie-Brooman where you can make simple, 100% safe donations, direct to Impact Young Heroes.
Adam Barrett’s Story
“When I was first diagnosed, with youth on my side and an excellent prognosis, I had surprisingly few worries about the 6 cycles of chemo and the week of radiotherapy, which looked likely to be all I would need at this stage.
Apart from the pain in my arm felt when the chemotherapy was administered, and the nausea and sickness in the following days, I did not find this period overly traumatic. It was a massive help that I have a very loving and understanding family and close friends, and that I had recently graduated. I imagine it must be devastating for those that have their education disrupted or ruined!
Unfortunately I was in remission for just a few months following this initial treatment when a scan indicated that I had relapsed. This it when it started to sink in that I couldn’t take anything for granted anymore, and I could be in for a long and difficult struggle.
Two years on, after further bouts of treatment and further relapses, eventually all was looking well. I had an offer accepted on a house purchase, and had paid for a holiday in Ibiza with close friends. I had a scan result pending, but the doctors were confidently predicting that I had nothing to worry about, as I had been well and the previous scan was clear.
The optimism proved to be short lived, as the results were not good, and the disease had spread further than it had done before. The holiday and house purchase were cancelled, and I began Chemo again within a couple of days. This time was different though. Suddenly my prognosis scared me, and it was realised that standard Chemotherapy was not going to produce any long-term results.
I was to have an autologous stem cell transplant (during which my stem cells were harvested from my own bone marrow, and reintroduced to my blood stream after a high-dose of Chemotherapy. I recovered from this surprisingly quickly, but again relapsed within a few months.
This left one last option, an allogeneic bone marrow transplant (from a donor), described as being “in another league” to the previous one in terms of risk and recovery period. Nervous weeks were to follow as a UK search for donors failed to find a match, and the search had to be widened to Germany and America. But eventually a match was found in the US, which I remember feeling slightly under whelmed about, knowing that this even a year on it was still only the beginning.
I was still positive, and although I was quoted as having a 20% chance of treatment-related fatality, and still no guarantee of a long-term cure having made it past the 6-month mark, I knew that odds were still on my side in real terms.
Again I had been ignorant of what to expect in the year that was to follow, in which I was to spend over 6 months (on and off) as an inpatient with various infections. I felt lucky to be treated on the Young Oncology Unit during this period, as I was to meet some great nurses and patients, making me feel much less isolated.
My immune system eventually recovered, and 2 years on I am still in remission. It has been almost a year since I have had to spend a night on the ward, and thanks to Young Heroes I enjoyed a holiday abroad with my friends last summer (in a villa in Lanzarote). Furthermore, I bought a house with my sister last year, and I am booked in for holiday to Ibiza this summer, as per my cancelled plans in 2006 mentioned earlier.
I like to think that I don’t take anything for granted now, and give myself a hard time if I find myself valuing material things too highly. I have noticed I now have more time for people who have serious problems, but less time for those who make a big fuss over something small or material.
I can say from my own experience that an illness can ironically make a person happier in the long term once they make it past the hard bit. I am much looking forward to future with an excellent outlook”
Last month’s newsletter featured a wonderful lady called Trudie Newlove who next month will be running the first ever Brighton Marathon in aid of Young Heroes.
Trudie has been training hard in preparation for the 26 mile coastal run around Brighton & Hove due to take place on Sunday 18th April. Her busy 6 month training schedule has seen Trudie suffer from countless blisters, black toenails and achey muscles all whilst running in possibly the worst weather conditions but with less than 6 weeks to go, she is raring to go and is looking forward to the challenge that lay ahead.
Here Trudie tells us how her training is going, why she decided to run the 26 mile marathon and why she is running for Young Heroes.
“Myself and a friend decided to set ourselves a challenge last year and do some good for charity as I am the world’s worst procrastinator and I needed an ultimate goal to aim for.
We decided upon a marathon…….. just for a laugh………. like you do…..
The London Marathon was full, so we scouted about for another one and found the first ever Brighton Marathon. ‘That’ll do!’ we decided!
The next step was to start the training. Off went the telly and on went the trainers. During the first few weeks of training I thought I was going to flake out at the side of the road and couldn’t take another step, but as the weeks have gone on I’ve run up hill and down dale, through boggy mud, skidded around on frosty roads and worn out the treadmill at the gym! I’ve had blisters, black toenails, smelly trainers and aching legs. But I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!
Anyway, 6 months later here we are, and the day is drawing ever nearer.
The training has been tough sometimes, especially when the weather has been cold and snowy. Another of my friends decided to train alongside me and I’m glad she did, because if she hadn’t been and nagged me out of the door in the early weeks of training, I wouldn’t be at this point now.
Now I’m an athlete! (not really, but that’s what I tell myself!)
I’ve had lot’s of support and positive encouragement from friends and family and I am confident about the BIG day (eeeek!.)
Now all they need to do is put their money to good use and donate donate donate………….
I chose Impact Young Heroes because of the fantastic work the charity does and if I can make many more people aware of that then all the blisters will have been worth it!”
Please show your support and sponsor Trudie today by visiting her JustGiving page http://www.justgiving.com/troods-trotting
New guidance hopes to improve cervical cancer diagnosis in young women
New guidance has been produced to help GPs identify symptoms of cervical cancer and facilitate early diagnosis of the disease in young women.
In England, screening for cervical cancer starts at age 25. Cervical cancer is rare in young women but GPs still need to be aware of the symptoms so that they know when to refer them to a specialist.
The new guidance was produced after a working group of the Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening (ACCS) found that young women who visit their GP with abnormal bleeding often experience delays in diagnosis because they do not receive a full pelvic examination.
Now, GPs who encounter these symptoms will be able to follow an algorithm so that they know how best to manage their patient and are reminded of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on gynecological symptoms.
Sourced from http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news
Most people (including me before chemotherapy) assume chemotherapy means losing your hair and feeling sick, how totally wrong could I be!
Not only did I lose my hair, feel sick and put on about 5 stone I also encountered symptoms that a 22 year old would have nightmares about;
My mum preparing to shave my head before chemo
My symptoms from Chemo
If you thought piles only came from sitting on cold walls or damp grass, you were wrong.
Think of the biggest snow flake you have seen and imagine it’s the skin falling off the bottom of your feet. (Ouch)
Being as bloated as the Michelin man!
Having to revert back to a baby’s toothbrush and toothpaste. (Oral thrush)
Pregnancy cravings have nothing on me, I ate flamin’ hot monster munch by the bucket load!
One minute I needed Movicol the next I needed Imodium.
The feeling of nausea was worse for me than actually being sick.
I could sleep for 24 hours, and still need more!
My finger and toe nails looked like they belonged to Shrek. (Nail infections)
Ulcers do not occur just in the mouth, other places are unmentionable.
These are the side effects that happened to me and might not necessarily happen to everyone. During this period it was very difficult to cope with these effects, but the treatment worked and two years down the line, I’m in remission!
See you next month at Katie’s Corner!