Newsletter Feb 2008

Introduction from our editor

Since the start of the newsletter, I have been writing about the wonderful people that Young Heroes and Impact Living work with.

When approached to write my own story and my thoughts about working for the charity, I jumped at the chance.

Best wishes

Kim Tetlaw


My story

I had been working for a furniture manufacturer as a PA for about a year and a half when I started looking for new jobs and possibly different career paths. Although I wasn’t unhappy there; in fact I loved my job and got on really well with colleagues, I just knew I didn’t want to be there long term.

I joined a job agency that within a few weeks approached me about a job vacancy as a Receptionist, working for a charity which supported vulnerable young people.

I’d never worked for a charity before and liked the idea of working somewhere that helped people.

I got an interview and although I was so nervous (as we all are!!) the people were so kind and put me at ease. I was thrilled when I was offered the post and started within 4 weeks of giving my notice to the other company.
Within days I had settled in and was getting familiar with my new role. Over the next few months I began to take on more responsibility and started to gain more confidence, not only in my job role but as a person as well (thanks to the support and encouragement of my colleagues).

After a couple of years as receptionist I handed the reigns over to my replacement (as I left to go on maternity leave for 6 months and had a beautiful baby boy).

Near the end of my maternity leave, I was asked to consider a role change to work in the fundraising team. I was told about an exiting new project in the pipeline; the launch of a new separate charity in honour of the late Nissar Bahadur.

The charity was to be called Impact Young Heroes and would provide support and respite care breaks for young adults living with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. The cause sounded amazing and it was something I really wanted to be involved in from the start and after 6 months off, I was looking forward to going back to work and taking on new challenges.

Being given the opportunity to take on a role in fundraising and also newsletter editor is a privilege and I can’t imagine doing anything else now. In addition, I feel that the friends I have made through Impact are friends for life.

The best part of my role is when I get to meet the young people themselves. To help them write their stories and share this part of their journey, is an experience that I will keep with me forever. It is an honour to work alongside these very courageous young people. I am inspired to make a big difference by sharing their stories with you and if we can raise funds to support another 60 young people and their families this year, then I’ll be a very happy woman.

Laptop and Internet Donation

In the last edition of the newsletter you will have read about a special young man called Daniel Hewitt who is the first Young Hero to live in Impact Living accommodation.

Back in December, Daniel received a laptop which was donated by a kind individual named Jim Leon of Cornwall. Alongside the laptop, Daniel was also kindly given a free 18 month internet subscription by a wonderful lady called Charlie Massey.

We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to both Jim and Charlie for their donations and it is much appreciated by the charity and Daniel. We would also like to thank Barbara Sugden for her part in this donation.

The laptop and internet donation mean that; Daniel (who lives about 45 miles from his family and friends) is able to keep in regular contact with them and it also helps him to make new friends.

Daniel says, “The laptop means I can stay in touch with my family and I can use the social networking site ‘Facebook’ to talk to other young heroes who have been though, or currently going through the same thing I have. It’s great to have a computer again especially as my other one was taken in a burglary before I moved to Impact”.

The benefits for those who have access to computers and the internet (particularly whilst undergoing treatment in hospital) are: that they are more likely to feel ‘at home’ and less isolated. This enables these young people to contact their friends and family whenever they want, so that they don’t feel detached from their normal life.

Laptops really can make the world of difference to a young person living with cancer and we ask for your continued support. Young Heroes is currently appealing for 10 individuals to donate £350 to purchase new laptops, or donate ones that are in good condition and can be given straight to a young person (or oncology units) up and down the country.

For further information please click here or contact Sharon Brown or Aaron Clark on 0870 055 43 13.

Jumping for joy

Calling all adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers!

Take the plunge and raise funds for young people living with cancer.

Imagine standing at the edge of an open doorway in an aircraft flying at 10,000 feet – the noise of the engines and the wind ringing in your ears with only the outline of distant fields below………Now imagine leaning forward out of that doorway and letting go – falling forward into the clouds, diving down through the air as you start freefalling at over 120mph!

Then imagine the peace and quiet as the canopy opens, the steering toggles come down either side of you and you begin a tranquil parachute descent from a mile up in the air, steering yourself back down to the centre of the drop zone below. Imagine being able to do this for FREE whilst harnessed to a professional skydive instructor and at the same time being able to help young people living with cancer!

Stop imagining, it’s real and you can be part of it……

Young Heroes is looking for 32 adventurous volunteers up and down the country to take on the challenge and make a big difference through one mighty big jump!

This year we are looking to hold 2 events one in Spring and one in Summer and have teamed up with Target Skysports, a Leeds based company and affiliated member of BPA, British Parachute Association. Target Skysports offer Tandem, Static Line and Accelerate Freefall jumps.

To take part in this thrill of a lifetime, all we ask is that you raise at least £500. This amount includes the skydive, equipment and training costs and ensures a guaranteed £145 goes straight to Young Heroes. Alternatively, you can pay this all yourself which means that the entire amount will go to Young Heroes.

For further details about skydiving for Young Heroes please contact Sharon on 0870 055 43 13.

Keep up-to-date with RSS feeds

Young Heroes now has a RSS news feed on the home page of the website.

The RSS feed allows you to see the latest headlines and information regarding cancer, as soon as its published, without having to visit any other site. Plus its updated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

What is RSS?

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a booming technology for receiving information from websites. It’s a format for distributing and gathering content from sources across the Web, including newspapers, magazines and blogs.

Rather than visiting several websites to check for new content, you can view it in one place and it is automatically updated.

Cancer – A Mothers Story

My own personal battle
I was always a very busy person; working full time and being very active in Girl Guiding and the local PTA and a mother to three wonderful children.

In 1994 I caught a virus and instead of taking time out to recover I armed myself with cough medicine and throat pastilles and made my way down to London for a meeting with work.

I never properly recovered from the virus and continued to feel totally drained and suffered from muscle pain and headaches. The fatigue was the worst thing I had ever experienced; it is not just normal tiredness, it is a fatigue of mind, body and brain which renders you totally helpless. Within a space of 6 months I was diagnosed with both ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) and Asthma.

With much love and care from my family and friends and my wonderful husband Brian, I gradually regained strength to have some kind of normal life again. Little did I know life would soon change forever with the events that lay waiting round the corner for us.

The events that changed our lives

Our daughter Katie started having pain in her knee just before 2004. She went to the doctors who prescribed her anti inflammatory tablets which unfortunately gave her little relief and on a subsequent visit the doctor referred her to the Physiotherapist at the surgery.

Katie worked on the exercises tirelessly but there was still no relief from the pain and stiffness.

At this stage we were not overly concerned as we assumed it was an injury or growing pains which would get better over time.

However things didn’t improve and we noticed Katie was obviously limping and finding normal tasks difficult. I noticed how climbing stairs was getting more difficult and that she could not get down onto the floor to play with her two young nephews.

We were brought up in a time when doctors knew best and were assumed to be always right. We didn’t question them as we would now. We just accepted that they would give the appropriate treatment and send people for tests as necessary.

We never had any suspicions that it might be cancer and I am sure that the GP didn’t suspect either. I know that doctors cannot be specialists in every field of medicine but a simple blood test and X ray after the failed physio may have picked up Katie’s cancer sooner.

I started to get really worried at Christmas 2006 when Katie came to stay with us. I saw her leg properly for the first time in months. I knew that her knee didn’t look right, it was hot and red and swollen. I said that she must go to see her GP after the Christmas holiday and ask him to refer her to a specialist.

Katie was initially referred to the Consultant Rheumatologist at our local hospital; even then the GP was still not alerted to the possibility of cancer. He sent Katie for an X ray and asked us to go back to clinic afterwards. After looking at the X ray he said to Katie that the problem was not his expertise and that he would make an appointment for her to see his colleague.

Katie had a phone call a few days later asking her to attend the Orthopaedic Out Patients clinic the following Monday. I accompanied her and as soon as we booked in Katie was asked to go for more X rays, including one of her chest. We found out later that this was to see if the cancer had spread to her lungs. We returned to the department and were taken into a consulting room. The doctor came in with 3 nurses and that was when I started to feel apprehensive and afraid.

I did not believe what I was hearing; that Katie had a tumour which was most likely to be malignant and that she may have had to have her leg amputated. I just wanted to hold her and cry and tell her that it was all ok and that we would get through this but I was not sure of that myself.

21 years old with her life ahead of her and a diagnosis of cancer. I wanted to turn the clock back to the lovely little blonde haired healthy girl that we had brought up.

Katie was referred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham where she had more X rays and an MRI scan. The Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon showed us the X rays and explained in great detail what would happen with regard to the surgery.

We were very relieved to hear that Katie may not lose her leg as they were experts in the field of limb saving surgery. He told us that Katie had Osteosarcoma and that she would need more tests to find out if it were low or high grade and if it had spread to other parts of her body.

Katie was referred to St James University Hospital, Leeds for the Chemotherapy that she would need if the cancer cells were high grade.

Katie started Chemotherapy the day before her 22nd birthday; it was a very emotional time.

I really, honestly do not know how we got through the year of treatment. It was truly a miracle that we physically coped. The emotional strain was unbearable. All the time Katie was the strong one and we had to keep strong for her.

The constant travelling back and forth to hospital for treatment, appointments and check ups was really taking its toll on us. I really wanted to stay near to Katie but because she was now a young adult and not a child there were no facilities for me to stay at St James and the accommodation at Birmingham was too costly.

With travel expenses, Brian having time off work and extra living expenses we could not see how we would manage.

I still find it amazing and very humbling to have been offered a place to stay in various homes throughout Leeds and Birmingham. There were people who we didn’t know opening their homes and their hearts to all of us. We were helped financially and emotionally more that we could ever have hoped for.

Brian knew that he had to support us both and continue to earn a living and fought his own battle day after day away from us. I am sure that sometimes he felt helpless and hopeless as he left us at the hospital for another course of chemo; as if he were abandoning us to fight the battle alone.

I never felt abandoned though; he was doing what was necessary to support us and to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

The Battle Won

When Katie was told that she was in remission from the cancer the relief was indescribable.

I wanted to laugh and cry and hug her all at once.

It has taken a long time to sink in and by the time you read this Katie will have been in remission for a year.

Katie’s illness hit every single person in our family and we were able to draw strength from each other. I still think that sometimes we are still in a state of shock over what has happened and as such are still recovering.

Time is a great healer and we are starting to enjoy life a bit more and get back to some kind of normality. It was a wonderful day when I realised that we could all laugh again.

Without our faith in God, our family, our friends and the trust we had for those who cared for and treated Katie, we would not have survived.

Nowadays life is very different, not what we had planned, not what we had expected or hoped for but………….life is good.

Fundraising Teams

This month Young Heroes have launched a new fundraising campaign in which 2 teams have pledged to raise £200,000 with the help of fundraising champions.

The fundraising teams and champions are a collection of individuals and groups who have taken up the challenge to support the Impact Young Heroes cause by driving forward fundraising events and activities. These people really want to make a big difference to the lives of vulnerable young people living with cancer.

Team 1 – Super Heroes

Super Heroes is a fundraising team with a difference, a big difference!

Consisting of Sharon Brown and Kim Tetlaw; our goals are not only to raise essential funds for Young Heroes, but also to raise awareness about cancer in young adults.

Why Superheroes?

We want to demonstrate how an average person can become a superhero, by just donating a little of their time and energy fundraising for Young Heroes; whether it be a sponsored event/ commitment to regular fundraising events, or even setting up a direct debit to donate on a monthly basis you can help us to support young people with cancer.

Superheroes come in many guises and volunteers can transform their normal everyday persona into a caped crusader (costume not essential), while learning that it really does not take the extraordinary to make a big difference to the lives of young people living with cancer.

Please click here for further information

Team 2 – Relentless

Team Relentless consists of John Doran and Aaron Clark who are committed to the Young Heroes cause as they were both friends with Nissar Bahadur (the inspiration behind Impact young Heroes) and have both had other friends and family members who have been affected by cancer.

Why is our team called Relentless

Our fundraising team have accepted the challenge and we will not give up until we have reached our target. We are determined to keep going and are single minded in our quest to help support Young Heroes to make a big difference in the lives of young people living with cancer. This is why we chose the name Relentless.

We would appreciate any help and support from like minded people. If you have any spare time, it is a great way to meet new people, have fun and most importantly help to support young people living with cancer.

If there is anybody out there who would like to help us reach the target by organising a sponsored event or activity please email us with your idea

Fundraising Champions

To become a fundraising champion you are required to pledge and raise a minimum of £500* from your chosen activity or event.

For further information please click here.

* excluding any costs for running the event or activity

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