My name is Laura and I have been to the Youth Cancer Trust many times with my friend Ellen…

I suppose you never think that it will be you or one of your friends that gets the big ‘C’, so when one of your best friends gets diagnosed with Cancer whilst you’re still at High School then it’s a bigger shock than any teenager can imagine. The friend I’m talking about is Ellen.

laura-ellenAfter intensive Chemotherapy and stays in hospital Ellen told me about the Youth Cancer Trust (YCT) that she had previously attended the year before and all about how beneficial a four night stay there had been to her especially as she had been introduced to other young adults who had had cancer.

Ellen informed me that she could take a companion and asked me to go with her, to which I said ‘yes’ straight away.

Our first trip to the YCT in Bournemouth together was in 2009 when we had both just turned 16. I remember Jim picking us up in the minibus that they use and feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves for what the week ahead entailed. The group we stayed with are the group we still go with today and I can 100% say that every year the YCT gives myself, Ellen, Kirsty, Rachel, Hannah, Chris and James one of the best weeks of our whole summer.

With the YCT we have been on a day trip to London, sailed to the Isle of Wight, have been go-Karting, horse riding and taken part in water sport activities to name just a few. The Tracy Ann House which you stay in also has a pool table, a lounge with a huge TV and a relaxing garden where you can have beauty treatments done in the garden house.

The main point to me is the warm family atmosphere that Tracy Ann House offers, especially the commitment and dedication that both Brenda and Jim give to us all during our stay.

Laura-DI cannot think of a place that has brought so many young people with cancer together so well – making us feel like a family, because of our shared experience.

Every year our group all sit around together in the lounge and talk about our individual experiences of having cancer and supporting a friend who has or used to have cancer, and I hope this never changes in the years to come.

I cannot express enough how much help and guidance YCT has given me in terms of supporting a friend who has beaten cancer.

I will be forever grateful to be given the opportunity to speak to other companions about ways in which they have supported their friend/sibling.