Teenage Cancer Trust
It is often said that our teenage years are formative. The only language I spoke in then was sarcasm, I demanded responsibility but deep down wanted support, I grew taller, danced in mosh pits, dated boys, popped spots, made the mistake of shaving my eyebrows and generally took some slouchy reluctant steps towards finding my sense of identity and place in the world, all in between episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I can’t then imagine how I would have coped with an earth shattering cancer diagnosis in the way Stephen Sutton had to.
I think on how I would have felt sitting on a hospital ward surrounded by children much younger or more juvenile than how I perceived myself or indeed amongst elderly more sedate patients, wondering about all the stuff I was missing out on with my friends. Without the work of Teenage Cancer Trust this would be a common reality of young people with cancer. It is this charity’s aim to give control back to young people to enable them to access the best cancer support in the way they want it, be it treatment with others their own age and/or the support of specialist staff.
Do you remember Stephen Sutton’s story? Stephen was a fifteen year old blogger diagnosed with terminal cancer who posted his bucket list online and was taken into the nation’s hearts. If you recall the number one item on Stephen’s bucket list was to raise £10,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust and in fact he ended up raising over £5 million. It remains the biggest single fundraiser in the charity’s history and the highest performing JustGiving page ever created. Stephen passed away three years ago at 19 and was given a posthumous MBE for his activism, so what have the charity been up to since that time?
They’ve certainly not been sitting idle. Last month a series of high profile concerts at the Royal Albert Hall featuring performances from Ed Sheeran and Olly Murs organised by Roger Daltrey of The Who have ensured their cause remains in our minds and firmly in the spotlight. This is a charity very much on the ascent, indeed whilst I was volunteering this week I learnt of some even more exciting news but it’s currently top secret with an announcement next Wednesday - so watch this space…
With just two days to go until the London Marathon, I spent some time with the charity’s challenges team to take on some pre-race preparation. I was lucky enough to do some filming at the Expo in London. Whilst waiting for the team to arrive I was loitering by what I believed to be the entrance when a young american girl came up to me and asked if this was where Prince Harry was coming in. My jaw hit the floor and I learnt he was opening the event! In the next few minutes BBC and Sky camera crews began to arrive and set up and the area quickly became cordoned off. Myself and my american sidekick Antoinette decided to chance our position in amongst the melee of journalists and as such managed to bag ourselves front row spots for the ribbon cutting! After the ceremony I managed to get a handshake from HRH before he was whisked off (and I can confirm two days later my right hand remains unwashed haha!)
However back to the matter in hand. Once the excitement of the royal visit had died down, I was able to take in the enormity of the expo itself with stalls from charities all around the country and exhibits from some of the top sports brands, there was a lot to see and do even for a non-runner. Exploring done, I helped Chris and Emily man the Teenage Cancer Trust stand and met some of the 170 intrepid runners, raising for the charity on Sunday. Including the incredible Mike the mod and his leg-powered polystyrene lambretta! It was amazing to hear some of their stories and reasons for supporting this charity and I wish them all the best of luck on Sunday.
Please watch my video to get a flavour of the day itself. Next week I’m off to Scotland with Lauren Currie Twilight Foundation!
All good things,