Kai's Story - The Next Chapter

Kai's Story - The Next Chapter

At the age of 11, I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. Hospital became my second home. I endured two weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy. I felt fatigued. I lost my hair. I became isolated and insecure.

Eleven years on, you could say hospital is still my second home, but for a very different reason. COVID-19 has taken hold of the country and I’m on the frontline saving lives. I’m helping others in the same way I was helped 11 years ago.

It all began when my Endocrinologist asked what I would like to do when I was older. I sat and thought. Then I replied, “I want to get into medical school.”

It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey to say the least. Two years ago, I was preparing my application into medical school, whilst studying for a Biomedical Science degree at the University of Hull.  

A disappointing result in my medical school entrance exam meant I faced rejection after rejection.  Just one shining hope remained. The last medical school I applied to invited me for an interview. I was over the moon! But it wasn’t meant to be. I graduated with a first-class honours degree in Biomedical Science, but I was rejected from my last remaining lifeline into medical school.

I pursued my dream and eventually received a job offer at Kings College Hospital as a Healthcare Assistant in a liver ward. I retook the medicine school entrance exam and with a score of 70%, I resent my application. This time, I received interviews from all the medical schools!

I was learning so much from the porters, nurses and doctors I was working alongside, and I felt armed with the knowledge I needed to really impress at interview. It paid off; over the next couple of months I received offers from every single one.

I chose Aberdeen and was working extra bank shifts at the hospital to self-fund the annual tuition fee of almost £10,000.

Then, earlier this year, everything changed. We were faced with a global pandemic.

COVID-19 was spreading fast and in no time at all, Kings College Hospital started receiving patients diagnosed with Coronavirus.  

Having battled cancer, I understand how isolating being in hospital can be. COVID-19 patients can’t even see their loved ones. The wards soon became short staffed as the virus continued to take its toll on colleagues as well as patients.  

I wanted to make a difference, so I’ve been putting in extra shifts on COVID-19 wards.

I’ve got to this stage in my life with the support of Teens Unite. I’ve made friends with young people in a similar situation and listening to their stories has motivated me to never give up, even after facing rejection after rejection. The staff have always believed in me and encouraged me every step of the way. I’d think back to their words when I was travelling to the medical schools for interviews.

It was during a Teens Unite event that a motivational speaker said, “Cancer was one of the best things to happen in my life.” My battle with cancer, the journey I have been on and the support of Teens Unite has made me so passionate about becoming a doctor.

To any young person facing cancer, you are not alone.

Teens Unite is a way of meeting others your age who understand what it means to have cancer as a teenager or young adult. It is a community where you can share any problems you are facing. Time flies at the activities they organise, and you always leave looking forward to the next one.  

I’ll always thank Teens Unite for what they’ve done for me. When I graduate from medical school, I’ll do all I can to give back to them and the other young people they support.

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