Sophie (12) was diagnosed with hodgkin’s lymphoma in February 2023. She is sharing her story on International Childhood Cancer Day to help raise awareness.
I was first diagnosed with cancer in February 2023. My mum and dad noticed two massive lumps on my neck. A couple of weeks after that I started to not feel myself; I was always feeling sick and had bad stomach pains. I lost a lot of weight and had bad night sweats.
Not Feeling Well
At first, I thought I was just sick. I didn’t like not feeling well or the night sweats. I was admitted to hospital on the 1st February and was there until the 25th. I had to undergo two operations and six months of chemotherapy treatment which finished in September.
Being diagnosed with cancer really scared me. The first thing I thought of was death and losing my hair. I had long, thick, curly hair. During treatment, it was really hard knowing I wasn’t going to be able to go out with my friends and to see everyone. They were all going out and doing fun things that I couldn’t do. It made me feel lonely and left out.
Support From Meeting Others
Cancer Fund for Children has really helped me. You get so much support from meeting other people and other families. I have taken part in residential group work with other young people and stayed at the charity’s Narnia log cabin. Before I went on my first residential, I got to go out for the day with everyone who was staying over to get to know them.
It was exciting going on residential. I got to know everyone even better when we stayed over and we got to do loads of things like have a campfire, eat s’mores, and watch a movie. I remember my friend and I were doing dances. My favourite memory from being on residential was when we all did this Mamma Mia dance together.
The best thing about going on residential was meeting everyone, making new friends and sharing our experiences with each other. It was so good knowing that there are other people I can relate to who were going through the same situation. I would love to get involved in Cancer Fund for Children’s Youth Engagement programme to meet more young people and share our experiences.
Karen, my Cancer Support Specialist checks in on me. She supports me and my younger brothers. They love her visits and don’t want her to leave.
I loved having Lucy come to visit me on the ward; she really brightened up my day. We always played games. We are both very competitive, so that was lots of fun. But she also helped me talk about my feelings and that was really helpful for me. She also checks in on me and invites me along to outings where I can meet other young people who are diagnosed with cancer.
We have also been to family days and stayed at Daisy Lodge together as a family. It was really nice to get away from home.
What I Want People To Know
The one thing I want other people to know about cancer, as scary as it sounds, and although it is going to be hard, you will get through it. Cancer sounds scary but there are amazing nurses and doctors. My doctor, Dr Johnston and my Nurse Specialist, Suzie are amazing. All the nurses make you smile. They are like your friends.
You can help us support more children and young people like Sophie by giving a regular gift of £10 a month to Cancer Fund for Children. Sign up here.
If you would like to find out more about giving a monthly gift to Cancer Fund for Children please contact our Donor Care Team for more info:
email email@example.com or call us on 028 9080 5599/01 562 1580.