Posted on Wednesday 1 September 2021

Jeremy’s Story: “I love swimming, reading, acting, and looking after my two younger sisters. I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I am more than my cancer.”

Jeremy, 13, from Slough, was diagnosed with cancer in March 2020, just as the country went into lockdown. He was only allowed one parent on the ward with him at a time and missed seeing his friends and family.  Jeremy is sharing his story this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to shine a light on what life has been like for a child with cancer, why his voice should be heard, and why children like Jeremy cannot be forgotten. 

My name is Jeremy and I am 13-years-old.   

Over the next month you’ll come to recognise my face and get to know me a bit more. That’s because Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is here and children are taking over Young Lives vs Cancer platforms… 

I want to tell you a bit about my story, why I am more than my cancer

My nickname is Jeremy the Great - I want to be a doctor when I grow up and help put smiles on children and families who are struggling, like I did.   

Last year I was diagnosed with cancer – osteosarcoma – just before the pandemic. I had been feeling pains in my knee and ankle, but the doctors didn’t know what was wrong. The pain made me cry at night. Then my mum took me to hospital and that’s when everything started. Cancer.  

I was in the room with my mum and dad when the doctor told us I had cancer. I started crying and asked if I was going to die? I felt angry and frightened. I started Googling, checking what osteosarcoma is and asked if I had treatment, would I lose my hair?   

When I first went to hospital it was quite fun, but when you start to realise you are away from school it’s quite bad and you just want to be able to do all the activities and get better.  

Lockdown 

I was a bit startled when I heard there was going to be a lockdown. The worry I had was if I was going to catch the virus and spread it to my family. I think it did affect the hospital in that when people get hurt family members weren’t allowed to visit. I was only allowed one parent with me in hospital and I missed my sisters. It is quite difficult for one parent only to look after a child in hospital.   

When I went home, I still wasn’t allowed out. Especially during lockdown. You don’t get to go out much; it was very quiet in the neighbourhood. We weren’t able to visit anybody or have anybody come into our home because we didn’t want to catch the virus or get ill from it because of my illness.   

When lockdown lifted, I felt upset and angry a bit because I wanted to see friends, but I was still shielding. The hardest thing about it was not being able to go to theme parks or restaurants or see family.   

Jeremy missed seeing his sisters in hospital. He is happy to now be back spending time with them at home and being the best big brother.

Young Lives vs Cancer support 

We were supported by Young Lives vs Cancer and our social worker Grace. She helped us with what I needed and would always bring stuff for me. She helped me to get a laptop and I was very happy! I could go on Zoom and YouTube and play games which kept my mind off my treatment and what was going on around me.   

When I heard at Christmas we were going into lockdown again, lots of people were devastated because they were going to visit family. At that time, I was recovering from surgery where the doctors removed my tibia. At first I thought I was going to lose my whole leg, but they were able to replace my bone with a metal device motor which will grow with me.   

The doctors put a brace on my leg and I started to learn to walk again. It was painful and I was really scared. I didn’t want to break anything inside my leg, I was quite cautious.   

Grace helped me. She reassured me and told me the things that I could get to take my mind off the things happening around me.   

I had to speak to Grace on the phone when I was on the ward because we weren’t allowed to make contact because it wasn’t safe for me to see other people. When I was in hospital the nurses and doctors all wore masks. You couldn’t see their faces and if you didn’t know them very well it felt a bit strange. I was a bit cautious and shy and didn’t know what to say.   

I feel quite happy and excited now I have finished treatment. Things are better now. Young Lives vs Cancer has inspired people to not lose hope in their child having cancer.   

My nickname is Jeremy the Great – I even have a shirt with it written on the back. I love swimming and reading and looking after my two younger sisters.

More about me

Although this is my story, I want to tell you about me too – because I am more than my cancer.

My nickname is Jeremy the Great – I even have a shirt with it written on the back. I love swimming and reading and looking after my two younger sisters. I also like acting and playing the guitar. I hate healthy foods and when other people aren’t kind.

I want to be a doctor when I grow up and help put smiles on children and families who are struggling, like I did.

I was head boy in my old school and my motto I like to live by is ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel, why let cancer beat me’.

Get involved this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Support children like Jeremy by getting involved this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. From wearing a gold ribbon and raising awareness to taking on Challenge60, there are so many ways you can help Young Lives vs Cancer be there for children and young people living with cancer. Find out more about our campaign.

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