After going through 8 months of chemo, and a 5 hour life and limb saving surgery it is amazing to be able to be back doing more normal things. I still face regular check ups, and have only recently finished tougher rehabilitation, but in no way have, or will I, let that stop me from trying to do and achieve what I really want.
Let’s start with school and Uni. I successfully completed my final year of school with a highly sought after OP 8, despite many people suggesting I, a) repeat year 11, and b) to go down the path of getting a Rank instead. This year I am starting my Bachelor of Wildlife Science and hope to end up in conservation work. I have experienced a lot of times when I really had to push for what I wanted, and I’ve learned that if I know I can achieve something, I should push and achieve it.
Prior to the cancer, I was a very avid rower. It was truly heartbreaking and difficult when I was told I might not be able to row again, but being the persistent and slightly stubborn person I am, I refused to take that as a never. As soon as I was able to, I worked at regaining my strength and bend in my knee. So, in my final year of school I once again competed in the BSRA competition as part of a crew who came first at the Head of the River Regatta. But it is honestly just amazing to be back on the water. Despite the cold mornings of training, being on the water is one of the most important things to me, and brings me so much joy.
I have also found out that I like having a voice. I am now part of the Queensland Youth Cancer Advisory Group. In this group I, and several others, advise Queensland Youth Cancer Service on health service planning, delivery, evaluation education and training, together with developing spaces and facilities for young patients and their families. We talk and discuss with people who are looking to improve their services. I am basically a voice trying to make another young person’s cancer journey or experience, just that little bit better, and a little bit easier. I feel this is really good and important.
After my cancer experience, I realised that I have to step into life, find ways of doing things, and never give up on my dreams. I can no longer ski, so I learnt and continue to learn how to snowboard, and even when on my Year 12 Snowy trip in September 2018.
I have done a range of things both in my normal life and my cancer life. Normal: I travelled to London and Finland with my family, I was a Bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding, and I became a Volunteer at Australia Zoo. Cancer: I presented at and sat on a panel of people at a Medical Conference. I have attended Bissy4Ward and Warf4Ward hosted Sony You Can Foundation.
But I’ve also lost two friends to Sarcoma and everyday I’m concerned I’ll lose another so in my life of remission I fight not just for myself but for them. I hope to be in that too small percent that survive so that I can live not just for myself but for them.
That is why I am now an Ambassador of the CRBF and hope that I can help find a way and be voice to make those percentages bigger.