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A MELKSHAM local has set herself the challenge of running the London Marathon next year to give back to the charity that supported her and her family when she had cancer.
In 2012, at the age of 19, Sam Hughes-Smith was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma – a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.
Whilst receiving treatment, Sam and her family received support from CLIC Sargent, a national charity that supports children and young people with cancer.
About her diagnosis, Sam said, “I was stunned! I didn’t know what I was meant to do with that information, what it meant for my future or how I was going to get through it.
“The team that looked after me at St Helens Hospital (in Merseyside) had CLIC Sargent get in touch with me, days after my diagnosis. I was assigned a CLIC Sargent social worker – she visited my house and got everything organised. She ensured our financial situation was taken care of and helped me find the courage to explain the situation to my younger family members.
“Jane, my social worker even helped my girlfriend (now wife) Beth, with various aspects of university whilst I was going through treatment. Nothing was too much trouble for them.”
Now aged 26 and in remission, Sam is aiming to raise £2,000 for CLIC Sargent by taking part in the world’s most famous marathon, the London Marathon.
Sam said, “I’m quite nervous and excited. I was so happy when I got the news that I had got a place in the marathon – I actually found out on my 26th birthday. It was the best birthday present!
“I play hockey, so I am more used to running short distances with a stick in my hand – I’m not a distance runner and I’ve not run a marathon before. Training has been tough, but I’m pacing myself.”
About why the work of CLIC Sargent is so important to her and other young people affected by cancer, Sam explained, “CLIC Sargent was a big part of saving my life before I had even turned 20. In recent years I have volunteered for the charity – I have met many young people who are fighting cancer and I have seen first hand how CLIC Sargent help patients and their family through their experience with cancer.
“They provide practical, emotional and financial support for patients aged 0-25 and their families. During my volunteering I have visited some of the CLIC Sargent ‘Homes from Home’ – they’re havens for families when their child is going through cancer treatment. They’re free and close to principal treatment centres, helping families avoid the extra financial burdens of travel, accommodation and food costs. Their ‘Homes from Home’ also allow young cancer patients to be close to their loved ones, keeping the family together at a difficult time.
“Please sponsor what you can; every penny helps these families through the toughest of times.”
To support Sam and donate to CLIC Sargent, visit:www.justgiving.com/ runninginremission.