When sport-loving Jess, 15, found a lump at the bottom of her neck she assumed she’d just pulled a muscle. But after becoming more unwell a biopsy and other tests revealed she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Here, Jess talks about the support she received from her school friends and CLIC Sargent Social Worker Adama.
“In the past I’d always thought to myself: I can’t imagine what people with cancer go through. But when I found out, and this might seem weird, but the first thing I thought was: how am I going to tell everybody?
“I’m really close with my friends and I’m normally the person that’s positive and there for everyone else. I started wondering: will they still be my friends now I’m ill? I was worried that they might stop talking to me.
“But my friends couldn’t have been more supportive. I was lucky.
My friends were so supportive
“My whole year group at school were amazing when I got back to school. I looked totally different, I’d lost my hair and I was wearing a headscarf but they all treated me the same. Like I was the same person, not just somebody with cancer.”
The day she got diagnosed Jess met her CLIC Sargent Social Worker Adama.
“Adama is so nice to have around. It was good to know that I always had somebody to talk to about what was going on with me and how I was feeling. It helped a lot.”
Jess’ cancer treatment was short but very intense and she began losing her hair.
She said: “In the end I chose to shave it off. It would have been more upsetting to find big clumps of it on my pillow one morning. I’d probably recommend other people to just shave it off too rather than got through that.
I am still myself
“At first I was scared of going out in public. I thought people would stare at me, and wonder why I was so pale and wearing the headscarf. But then I thought – I am still myself and I’m going to totally own what’s happening to me.
“My hair is growing back at the moment and it is still really short so I can’t do much with it. So for my school’s Valentine’s Ball I decided to get a wig. I got one for free from a charity called the Little Princess Trust. I got dressed up really nicely with my friends and wore it to the ball and it was really fun.”
Find out more
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families. Right now we can only help two out of three young cancer patients like Jess.
Help us make it three out of three and donate online.
To find out how CLIC Sargent supports young cancer patients and their families, please visit our info and support section.