Year 12 is meant to be the time when a young person dreams of broader horizons and spreading their wings, but for Neave, it was the year she took on the toughest challenge of her young life.
She was diagnosed with t-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. What followed was a gruelling treatment, punctuated by long hospital stays.
“When I was diagnosed it was out-of-the-blue. My world was rocked,” Neave said.
Although only 17, Neave was on a ward with patients much older than her. Redkite know the stress and isolation young people experience in the adult hospital system – it’s one of the reasons we created the Diagnosis Support Pack for young people. It’s full of useful things for a long hospital stay, and shows a young person entering the bewildering and scary world of cancer that someone cares – that no matter what, Redkite is along for the ride with them.
After yet another scan in the early days of her treatment, Neave received hers. It marked the start of her connection to Redkite.
“There’s a pen that I still have, which I can’t use anymore because I’ve used all the ink. I used my Redkite pen for a journal I started when I was first diagnosed. My Redkite pen gave me the ability to write down my feelings during my early stages of treatment,” Neave said.
Neave’s life had been seriously disrupted by the treatment that was saving it. Being in her final year of school, she was meant to be studying for her Year 12 exams, but often wasn’t well enough. With her education on pause, she needed to find ways to keep her mind active and her spirits up. The Redkite team she had connected with thanks to the information in the Diagnosis Support Pack, helped her find activities she could do during her treatment. They also helped her re-imagine her future.
“On the days when I was slightly well enough, my Redkite counsellor helped find me activities to do, like art courses to go to. When I was out of hospital, I was able to sit and talk with someone at their office in the city,” she said.
Neave’s story is similar to the stories of hundreds of young people throughout the country. Thanks to your generosity and the Dry July Foundation, you’ve been able to give young people like Neave the resources they need to make sure cancer is only part of their story, not the whole book.