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A YOUNG woman from Beanacre has been chosen as one of three people in the UK to share her story for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity.
20-year-old Holly King was diagnosed with cancer on the day she was supposed to be moving to London for university, two years ago. Now in remission, she was chosen to share her story for the Teenager Cancer Trust.
“We’d actually already moved half of my stuff into my new flat but had to go back and get it,” says Holly. “I had a place at University of the Arts London to study magazine publishing and journalism.
“I didn’t feel awful, but when I look back, I didn’t feel quite right. I just thought I was hungover all the time as I was living in Bristol and going out a lot. I had this big swelling on my neck and didn’t know what it was, but I thought it was just my glands. I went to the doctor but it took quite a while to get diagnosed because they just brushed it off as they do with a lot of young people. But the swelling wasn’t going down.
“When they asked if they could meet me in the oncology centre it was pretty self-explanatory of what it might be. My mum and I met my consultant and he told me what was wrong and what I had – stage 2 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the neck and chest.”
Holly received chemotherapy on The Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at Bristol Hospital.
“The Teenage Cancer Trust nurses made you feel so welcome on the unit, they took the time to care and make sure you were ok and comfortable,” Holly continued.
“The unit has a pool table, TV and games – it’s just a really nice area to be when you’re feeling pretty rubbish. The rooms have a TV in them, which is good when you’re lying in bed with nothing to do. I can’t imagine not having the unit, I’d hate to be with everyone else on an adult ward because they don’t treat you the same. There’s a big difference when you get cancer as a young person and the Teenage Cancer Trust really helps differentiate between the two, and gives young people what they need during this horrible time.
“I think all young people should have access to some sort of Teenage Cancer Trust unit or staff. It’s so different for a young person, they’re young, naïve and they’re scared. They need nurses to hold their hand and the unit to keep their spirits up, otherwise it’s quite a dark place really.
“Cancer puts life in perspective. These things just kind of happen, I don’t think it’s unfair. Things happen, you get through them and it makes you a stronger person.
“The nurses in the ward were asked to choose a patient to tell their story and they asked me. I wanted to do it and said yes straight away. I thought it would be a good thing to do – I think I have an interesting story and by sharing it with others, it raises awareness and helps other people going through the same thing.
“The crew came to my house for the filming – it was a long day but I enjoyed it. Speaking about my experience was difficult and I got quite emotional. You have all these feelings inside of you and you don’t always talk about them – it was a way for me to get them off my chest. I will be starting university in September after deferring my place and I’m very much looking forward to it.”
You can read Holly’s story by visiting www.teenagecancertrust.org