This is the time of year when though being long gone rouge fireworks still seem to be randomly going off, and Halloween items linger on supermarket shelves, clearly unwanted. The time of year when the Christmas adverts appear and we aren't quite sure if we're ready for them yet. A time of year when John Lewis have us all wishing and hoping there will be a penguin under the tree for us on December 25th. In fitting with this strange sort of time, I don't want to like to talk about fear, frights shock or horror because we all know that cancer is full of that without me boring you with a blog about it. I guess most of you know or can imagine the gut wrenching awfulness that comes with a cancer diagnosis as a teen, so why draw it out?
Instead this blog is about some people I love, the people who make it all 'ok' (as ok as it can get) They are the Fairy Princesses at the door on Halloween, the dazzling firework display and the ingenious advert designer, 'Monty' the penguin in tow.
So who are these people? Well if you've read the top, they are the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that before a personal connection most people probably hadn't heard of before this year, and a charity that deserves much more attention than they get. A charity who I just described as the Fairy Princess, firework show and animated penguin of a teenage cancer diagnosis.
If you have no previous connection to Teenage Cancer Trust and don't really know who they are, or what they do, you will be blown away. By building wards for cancer patients they give the opportunity for teenage patients to be in their natural place- with other teens and young people, even when they're having treatment. It allows them to have space, watch TV and have some of the choices you would have in your own home. It allows young people, like me to be in their own, with their own and not with the babies or the grannies.
And why do I love them? Concisely put, they made the difference between hope and defeat in the face of my own diagnosis nearly a year ago. They made the difference between being with other teens, and being with 80 year old women telling me about how you I am. They made the difference between normal conversation and well meant pity and grandchild chatting. I firmly feel that an ordinary ward has a much more pessimistic feel than any Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) ward, with big colourful sofas and random light up jukeboxes.
I love what they do so much, I love what they stand for and I love Roger Daultrey. I love the ethos that a hospital ward shouldn't have to look like a hospital ward. I love that you can have friends to visit. I love that when they do visit you don't have to be huddled around a hospital bed, that you can play (I tried!) pool, watch films or just chat.
The difference it makes, to be around others your own age, for them to also be bald, lugging around drip stands and have a complete understanding everything that is happening is completely priceless. I do think it is the friends from the TCT ward that I made that got me through treatment. The nurses get you through. Though probably many nurses are just as amazing, for them to be able to make you toast, able to chat with you- it changes things
My diagnosis was an extremely confusing time. Having my consultant be able to say 'let me take you to the ward, it's where you'll be looked after' and even with a quick off-the-cuff visit to be able to speak to some nurses, the ward manager, and day doctor is incredibly reassuring. My mum often says that she saw a light when we got to that ward, that she thought everything would be alright after arriving there. She takes pleasure in describing the Cardiff ward, the Skypad as looking like a penthouse youth club. To be fair to my mum, that's exactly what it looks like.
If you haven't quite got it already, the Teenage Cancer Trust are more than just people who build wards, and they are much more than a name of a collecting tin, the name of something 'which would never happen to me'. Teenage Cancer Trust means you are supported, so that when you're ill on Christmas morning, there's a nurse dance around your bed. The teenage cancer trust means that when all you want is duck pancakes, your mum can cook some in a microwave for you. The Teenage Cancer Trust means that when your brother visits you, he can watch TV with you, and it isn't a case of 'let's stare at Emily for the next hour'. It meant that I have made amazing friends. I meant while I was sleeping, my mum had other mums to sit and eat breakfast with. It meant everything really. Everything and so much more because I am here to tell the world of my love for this charity. Hey deserve every penny they get because that penny will go towards providing lifesaving treatment to someone like me.
Everything they do may seem simple, grouping teens together for chemo, but it is so so much more than a room to have treatment in. A place for treatment, but also a place to try and live, when your life
I love Teenage Cancer Trust, because they are there for you in a time of need that you never thought imaginable.
Thank you Teenage Cancer Trust. Even if I spent the rest my life saying thank you it wouldn't be enough, simply because without them I wouldn't be here to say it.
From the bottom of my heart, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, thank you, I love you and I will be forever grateful.
You can read more of Emily's blogs about the life of a teen coming out of cancer, find out more about her and get involved with her campaigns by visiting www.remissionpossible.org.uk