Riana's story

Find out about Riana's work placement at hmv head office, organised by CLIC Sargent.

"My name is Riana Flynn, and I have been taking part in the youth internship organised by CLIC Sargent and hmv. The main reason for giving young people like me such a great opportunity like this lies within the many problems of having cancer at such a young age.

The feelings that come with diagnosis

"In 2002 I was diagnosed with Muco-epirdermoid cancer, when I found a tumour in my neck at the age of 11, and unfortunately again four years later, at 15, when I relapsed. Due to many complications with the second tumour being so close to the facial nerve, in 2007, after my second operation, I woke up nine and a half hours later to find that the right side of my face had been paralysed. To make things worse, I was also due to complete my first year of GCSE’s whilst being on treatment for a recurrent cancer that, for many years, me and my family had pretended had not happened. Three weeks later I walked back into my school feeling scared, under-confident and alone. I thought I was never going to make it through such a traumatic experience.

"Many people do not realise that cancer does not just harm your body but has a major knock-on effect on your daily lifestyle and everything you previously took for granted: confidence, education and your future. So, many young teenagers, like me, feel their cancer has had a negative impact on their chances of moving on into the next stages of life in their career, as we do not always have the same chances or opportunities to explore what we want to achieve in life through school, work experience or even part-time jobs. It is a bit difficult for a young person going though cancer to get a job on the high street since they have no previous experience of work life, poor school attendance and no guarantee whether they can initially commit to the job because of waiting on recovery. What teenagers and young people need in these difficult circumstances is an opportunity to explore their options, make use of their skills and improve their confidence, so they get one step closer to the right direction of finding their future career. This internship has given me exactly that.

Working at hmv head office

"For the last week I have been working everyday in the hmv head office with Clare Bowers and other colleagues from HR, along with HR director Steve West. For the little time I have been here, I have been given ample opportunity to explore the various different types of careers and many great chances to use my skills effectively, with this article being one of them. I have really enjoyed spending time with the people I have met here; everyone I have spoken to has taken time to make me feel very welcome and comfortable with getting to know the place.

Next steps

"Since I was diagnosed, for what I hope was the final time, things have slowly recovered for me and my confidence has grown tremendously, as many of the things that at one time have been a huge burden, are now slowly disappearing. I have just finished my first year at sixth form college and will be going back next September to complete my A-Levels and am hoping then go to university, hopefully in London as I love it here.

Helping others

"I currently help run and facilitate a support group for children, young people and their families, in Essex called ‘Bright Futures’, which I co-founded with members of my family and have even recently been on the news on BBC’s Look East to try and help promote it, in order to help other people being effected by cancer. This brings me to one final thing, which has made my time here at hmv a great one. It is so amazing to see just how determined many hmv colleagues are to try and make a difference to people's lives through the charity CLIC Sargent and I have no doubt in my mind that hmv will raise even more money for CLIC Sargent this year."

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