Wendy was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was 17. Over the past five years she’s been through treatment, gone into remission, and relapsed three times. Through her journey she’s been supported by CLIC Sargent, which provided a specialist package of support tailored to Wendy. Here she tells her story.
"I first heard about CLIC Sargent when I was being treated on an adult ward at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
"CLIC Sargent had a social worker at the hospital, Gail, who mainly works with patients on the children’s ward, supporting them and their parents. My mum got in touch with her and asked if she could help me, and Gail emailed me.
"I was at home, in-between treatments so she offered to come and visit me for a chat. She was a good listener and it was good to have someone to talk to as I couldn’t get out much at all at that point because of my low immunity. She visited regularly after that, and we did some wee activities together like arts and crafts, which was nice and took my mind off things.
"I had to take a lot of steroids during treatment and they made me put on a huge amount of weight, and none of my clothes fitted properly anymore. I’d lost all my confidence. So she helped me apply for grants for new clothes – they made me feel a lot more confident, and a bit better about life.
"I was 20 when I relapsed for the third time, which was heartbreaking.
"Because I needed a bone marrow transplant, I was transferred to a hospital in Glasgow and met my new CLIC Sargent Young People’s Social Worker called Siobhan. She helped me out a lot too, especially with the benefits I could claim which took a lot of the financial pressure off - I wouldn’t have had a clue about any of that, and the forms were really complicated.
"After my bone marrow transplant in 2013 I went into remission. I’m on antibiotics for life and my immune system won’t ever be amazing but I’ve got myself a job working at Ernest Jones in Perth and I'm absolutely loving it.
"It’s been a rollercoaster, and I still think – ‘what if?’ every day. The slightest symptom and I start to worry that the cancer has come back.
"But I feel like through going all of this has helped me come on so much, and I’ve been given so many amazing opportunities, that looking back I don’t think I’d change it at all now.
"Now I’m doing my bit to raise awareness and money for CLIC Sargent. It’s brilliant that they are Ernest Jones’s charity partner and that all the staff across the UK and the shoppers are raising money to help other young people like me."
Find out more
CLIC Sargent will fight tirelessly for children and young people with cancer, often when they feel they can’t. We do this individually, locally and nationally, so that they can focus on the important things, like getting well.
In the run up to Christmas, H Samuel, Ernest Jones, and Leslie Davis stores nationwide will be raising funds for CLIC Sargent through the sale of Jasper the bear.
CLIC Sargent Play Specialist Carol Garner explains: “We use the teddy bears to show children what a Hickman line looks like and how it is used. Where possible we do this before their operation to help eliminate any fears they have and stop them imagining it is something scary.”
The sale of just five Jasper bears could pay for a CLIC Sargent Play Specialist’s time for one hour, so they can help a child prepare for and cope with treatment, by using models, toys and photos to explain what will happen.
To get your own Jasper bear, pop in to your local H.Samuel, Ernest Jones or Leslie Davis store. You now have the chance to bid on your very own giant Jasper! Find out how, and more information about Jasper, the CLIC Sargent bear.