Meet Kenny, diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, aged 17

Meet Kenny, diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, aged 17

Hi. I’m Kenny. At the age of 17 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.    

It all began when a massive lump appeared on my neck. I lost a lot of weight and started having night sweats. Being young and the kind of person I am, I didn’t want to make a fuss and made excuses for each symptom. I agreed to go to the doctors where they did a blood test and I was admitted straight to hospital.

After the first week of being in hospital, the doctor then told me he thought I had cancer.

My  whole  world  fell  apart,  I  didn’t  know  what  to  do. I kept thinking that things like this don’t happen to me. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my family.

Telling them was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I wasn’t strong enough to sit them down and break all their hearts, so I didn’t say anything. Two weeks later I had to go back for my results and I remember that day so clearly, Thursday 19th July 2012. I sat in the room with my family, the doctor came in and all I heard was the word ‘cancer’. My family broke down and started crying. I felt dead inside. I had no emotion, I just felt like I was in a bubble and it wasn’t really happening to me.

I couldn’t start chemo straight away because the lumps on my chest were pushing on my airways so I could hardly breathe. I soon started six months of intense chemotherapy and a month of radiotherapy.

In my head I thought I could still do things, but physically my body just couldn’t cope, not even with walking upstairs. I felt like a kid again because I couldn’t do anything for myself. It was so hard.

After a month in hospital I was given a leaflet about Teens Unite. I never left my room in hospital, I didn’t want to make friends and talk to other teenagers going through such a bad time. I used to look around the hospital and think how ill everyone else looked. After about four months I saw a picture of me that somebody took and it sank in that I was ill too.

I  got  a  phone  call  from  Teens  Unite  inviting  me  to  a  football  stadium  tour. In my head I pictured a load of ill people talking about how crap cancer is, which we knew already, so I didn’t think it was for me. Mum convinced me to go and it was the best thing I did.

It wasn’t how I imagined- it was a group of teenagers talking about normal teenage things, but we all understood what each other was going through.

After treatment I just wanted to get back to normal life, but my body still wasn’t ready. This is when I found Teens Unite really amazing. They give you something to look forward to and make you realise you’re not on your own.

What does Teens Unite mean to me? It’s not like any other charity. The staff at Teens Unite are like family; there when you need them. At Teens Unite you’re a person, not just a name or a number. Having cancer has proved to be a positive thing. I live my life as full as possible and Teens Unite have made me realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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