In 2007 when I was 17 years old and about to finish my first year at sixth form college, I was diagnosed with Aplastic anaemia. Aplastic anaemia is a rare disorder in which the bone marrow stops making enough blood cells. My treatment involved chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and countless blood transfusions and drugs.
Whilst I was receiving treatment at the children's hospital in Bristol, my Dad who had to come to Bristol with me was given a place to stay at one of CLIC Sargent's Home from Home. 'Sam's House' was such an important part of support for my family as it meant my Dad didn't have to find somewhere to stay, it was very close to the hospital and he received advice and emotional support from the staff and other families staying there. I would sometimes stay with him when I was in and out of the isolation and non-isolation wards at the children's hospital. At Sam's House we had a private room and bathroom, shared kitchen facilities plus several shared living rooms and TV lounges and there was even a 'teen room' which had games consoles, books and musical instruments.
At a really difficult time it was such a relief for my family to have somewhere to stay and receive support.
It was a completely life altering situation that felt at the time like it was never going to end. However 3 years post-treatment I began working again and now 10 years on, I am doing the National 3 Peaks Challenge to raise money for the charity that helped my family so much and continues to help so many children and families facing cancer.
The 3 Peaks Challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland, within 24 hours. The three mountains are:
Snowdon, in Wales (1085m) Scafell Pike, in England (978m) and Ben Nevis, in Scotland (1345m)
Here is some more information about CLIC Sargent:
When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. Today, 11 more children and young people will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. From diagnosis, CLIC Sargent’s specialist care teams will step in, ready to help, support and guide. CLIC Sargent will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally, so that they can focus on the important things.To find out more visit www.clicsargent.org.uk.