I’m Ceinwen also known as Wen and I’m now 23 and live in Cardiff…
3 years ago my world was turned on its head when I was diagnosed with a rare illness called Very Severe Aplastic Anemia – I heard Anemia and thought ‘oh I just need some more blood and I will be fine’- turns out it was a lot more serious than that and my bone marrow (the thing that makes your blood) had completely failed and I needed a bone marrow transplant asap.
I was coming to the end of my first year at University and loving my independence and friends and I was looking forward to a summer of working in America at camp. The diagnosis changed all that and I never really had the chance to take it all in, because I was sped through the process. I went from diagnosis to transplant within just 2 weeks. Luckily both my sisters were matches otherwise I wouldn’t be here today; as the doctors knew finding a transplant in time would have been impossible.
I went through treatment thinking it was all just a bad dream and knowing that soon I would be let out and life would just pick up where I left off. How wrong could I be. I spent 3 and half months in isolation and when I finally got out, constant infections and complications meant my life really did revolve around the hospital.
Banned from attending Uni or anywhere fun I found myself struggling with the effects of getting ill. I got involved with trips with my local TCT and made lots of friends who really got what it was like to be me. This is when I first heard about Youth Cancer Trust. At first I was really reluctant to go away, even though it was with my friends. I was worried about all the ‘what if’s’ and what would happen if I couldn’t do something, but I needn’t have worried because I had an amazing time!
The first time I went to YCT, my friendships with the group really blossomed and I knew if I could go again I’d like to take my best friend Dani. She had been there with me every step of the way despite her fear of hospitals and living so far away from where I was treated. I not only wanted to say thank you to her but also wanted to put a bit of fun back into our friendship. So on my second trip I went along with her and we made some lovely new friends too.
YCT really helped me get my friendships back on track and had me laughing again rather than worrying about being ill. We got to be normal and just chill out again without people constantly checking I was ok.
This year I took Uni part time and have found life so much easier. If it hadn’t been for taking a break away with Youth Cancer Trust I wouldn’t be in the position I am now and may have lost out on a lot too. YCT gave me the time away I really needed and helped me make new lifelong friends too!