An award ceremony organised by CLIC Sargent took place on Saturday night in Sutton to recognise the achievements of young people who have been dedicated themselves to their studies despite going through cancer treatment.
The award ceremony known as the Youth Achievement Awards saw up to 50 young people aged between 14 and 25 from the Royal Marsden Hospital presented with a range of awards.
The winners collected their award from CLIC Sargent Chief Executive Kate Lee and special guest double Paralympic champion, Hannah Russell, who has just got back from Rio and also gave an inspirational speech to the young people.
The compere for the evening was previous YAAs winner, Miriam Singh, 21, from Forest Hill. Miriam was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at 19 years old, just before she was due to go to university.
It was a particularly special night for Miriam, who is a second year Spanish and Portuguese student at the University of Bristol, as she finished her two-and-a-half year cancer treatment a week before the awards.
Miriam said: “The awards mean a lot to me and it feels great to mark the end of treatment with this special night. I think it’s really important to celebrate everything the winners have achieved because going through the treatment and trying to keep up with school and university is a big challenge.
“The hardest thing about going through all of this is that no one else understands what it’s like - you can’t really ask your friends. You can talk to people from CLIC Sargent, like my social worker Elsa and they really understand. Elsa helped me to think about my goals, my future and my education, without that I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Thriving not surviving
Kate Lee, Chief Executive of CLIC Sargent, said: “When cancer attacks a young person’s health it shouldn’t have to also cost them their education. These young people have shown that with the right support from CLIC Sargent they can achieve their goals despite their condition.
“As a charity our team fight tirelessly to make sure these young people can thrive not just survive cancer and that’s what these awards are all about.”
Double Paralympic champion, Hannah Russell, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet all the inspiring young people who have done so well in their studies despite going through so much themselves.”
“It was a brilliant evening and it’s so great to see so many young people not being defined by their illness and achieving such fantastic results. I think everyone would agree that they all deserve a gold medal too!”
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