A 24-year-old from Cardiff who has blogged her journey through cancer treatment is calling on locals to back a campaign to support the charity that helped her through it.
Admin assistant Elise Stapleton, is sharing her story to encourage locals to raise vital funds and awareness for CLIC Sargent.
Elise first noticed something wasn’t right after getting shortness of breath, night sweats and losing four stones in four months but her initial fears were dismissed by her doctors.
“I’ve always been the one wrapping up in cold at night but the night sweats left me feeling like I’d jumped in a pool. I thought I lost all the weight thanks to a new diet but obviously looking back it was more extreme than that.
“I woke up one Saturday morning and couldn’t I breathe, I was really frightened so I took myself off to A&E. I thought I’d broken my rib because I had this sharp pain when I breathed. The doctors said it could be pneumonia but two days later, I was diagnosed with cancer”
After an X-ray and CAT scans Elise received the shocking news that she had hodgkins lymphoma in September last year.
“I’d never even been in hospital before so it was a big shock. As the doctor came in to tell me the news, I was packing my bag ready to go. I felt bad for the doctor because he looked sad and told me “We found a large mass on your lung” I didn’t even know much about cancer before this.
“My first thoughts were “I’m going to die” I was in shock. I’m not a smoker, I’m young, I’m healthy, I don’t do drugs, so why me? What I have done to deserve this? I also felt guilty thinking about my poor parents and boyfriend; I didn’t want to put them through it.”
Elise then started her chemotherapy treatment and is currently on her eighth round out of twelve. Elise started up her blog ‘Elisevscancer’ following her diagnosis.
“I set up the blog because I just to get the word out there so people weren’t awkward and to address the elephant in the room. It was really important to me because it felt empowering and it gave me a voice.
“People were shocked when they read about it all. They couldn’t believe that in the blog I was laughing and joking about it but I just said if you don’t laugh you cry.”
During her treatment at the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff, Elise had support from a CLIC Sargent social worker who provide financial, emotional and practical support to children and young people with cancer.
“I first spoke to Jude my CLIC Sargent Social Worker after my first treatment. She rang me asking how I was and would I like to meet for coffee. She was lovely, she made me feel at ease and it was great to know that someone who doesn’t even know is looking out for you.
“Because I was so relaxed around her I could talk to her about stuff that I couldn’t say to my family and it made a big difference. It was a comfort to know Jude has been there a million times before, she knows what she is doing.
“She is always there on the phone, she tells me about every bit of support there is available like financial help, facebook groups and other schemes. It makes it so much easier that she is out there looking for things for me because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I would have a lot more on my shoulders without Jude.”
Now the Cardiff local is keen to give something back by backing the World Cancer Day campaign to raise vital funds and awareness for the charity.
Elise said: “It feels great to wear my World Cancer Day Unity band for CLIC Sargent because without them I would have so much more on shoulders. I hope that everyone backs the campaign, buys a band and shouts about it because we need to help all the other young people out there like mine
“The theme of uniting really speaks to me because this whole experience feels like it’s brought me, my family and my boyfriend closer together, you realise how far they would go for you. I don’t know how people get through these things their own.”
Kate Lee, Chief Executive at CLIC Sargent, said: “Today, 11 children and young people in the UK will hear the shocking news that they have cancer. When cancer strikes young lives we fight tirelessly to provide the financial, emotional and practical support they need.
“This World Cancer Day, we want everyone to ‘band together’ behind children and young people like Elise by donating, wearing a Unity Band and spreading the word. These simple acts will help more young people thrive not just survive after their cancer diagnosis.”
Wear your Unity Band® as a symbol of support and unity for everyone affected by cancer. Get your Unity Band® online for a suggested donation of £2, also on sale in Wetherspoons pubs and Wallis stores for a suggested donation of £2.
To read Elise’s blog go to www.elisevscancer.simplesite.com