Vic’s story. Without support I don’t think I’d have got through it

After noticing a golf ball sized lump in her breast, Victoria had various doctors’ appointments, consultations and tests. Four months later, at the age of 21, Victoria was given the news she had lymphoma

The mental, physical and financial impact on Victoria has been immense. On several occasions throughout her treatment, Victoria questioned how she would continue to navigate the challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis. 

“If I’m totally honest, without Young Lives vs Cancer, I don’t think I’d have got through my treatment, I think I’d have stopped the treatment about half way through.

“It wasn’t really until the second cycle of chemo that it started to hit me and I had to accept the fact I did have cancer.

“Kate, my social worker, gave me the reassurance that if my work stopped my money, she could give me a grant to top it up. She sorted out a grant for me when I was in Southampton for the radiotherapy because I was staying at Jean’s House so I was having to buy food on a daily basis. She got me a grant to be able to feed myself.”

Victoria remembers the moment she got the news she had cancer at just 21. A nurse had come into the room and told Victoria to sit down because sometimes it can be quite overwhelming, that’s when she knew it was not good news. She was told she would need to start treatment immediately. Being diagnosed with diffuse large B cell lymphoma, it was fast growing and would require four cycles of chemo and three weeks of radiotherapy.

Victoria’s friends and family have been a great support to her from the moment she was diagnosed. She had been with her partner for only three weeks when she got her diagnosis, ‘He’s been brilliant, we’re now engaged, he’s stuck with me all the way through.’

Victoria lives on the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England, which meant all her treatment had to be completed in Southampton. This meant she needed to travel across on the ferry and would then get an uber to the hospital, which could cost her £80 each trip. The financial impact on Victoria following her cancer diagnosis was overwhelming. After using up her sick days at work, there was no money coming in. Amongst the anxiety of facing treatment, Victoria was also having to grapple with losing eight months’ worth of income.

Victoria met Kate, her social worker, during her second cycle of chemotherapy. “She came to see me when I was having chemo – I remember being hit by the bucket of sunshine that was Kate”. Kate was able to help Victoria apply for several grants which went towards paying her bills, including petrol so she could still drive herself around. She also got in touch with Red Funnel who helped her with free ferry tickets. Whilst staying at Jean’s House, Kate organised a grant which allowed Victoria to buy groceries.

‘Having Jean’s House there was a lifesaver’, if not for the Home from Home the alternative would have been commuting every day or paying for a hotel each time Victoria came to Southampton. Commuting from the Isle of Wight would have become extremely difficult because her chemotherapy appointments were early in the morning.

“If I’m totally honest, without Young Lives vs Cancer, I think I’d have stopped the treatment about half way through. I couldn’t deal with the financial side of it, I couldn’t deal with the stress of it, I got to a point where I just didn’t want to do it anymore – without Kate being there and giving me the help that she did I genuinely think I would have stopped it and said I need to spend whatever time I’ve got left sorting my finances out and making sure my partner’s looked after.”

Victoria has now finished her treatment and found out prior to Christmas that she was in remission.

Author: Emma

Posted on Thursday 16 March 2023

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