This week really has been one for the public speaking, and an extremely busy one.
What with this being the last week in school before half term I was incredibly busy anyway!
So, on Tuesday, Simon Weston spoke at my school! He was invited to speak to motivate students to try their hardest and I went as a 6th form representative. Let’s just say he spoke incredibly, and is definitely worthy of the title of Britain’s favourite hero.
He stuck around to chat afterwards, and I had a chat to him about public speaking and got some great tips on speaking front of a crowd, especially as I’m not one for writing speeches. The quick chat we had gave me loads of confidence in just trying my best and not worrying if I absolutely crash and burn! I feel very honoured to have met and personally spoken to him. His public speaking was just…wow and hope his style and tips rubbed off on me!
The 2nd speakingy thing this week was being a patient representative at the Cardiff Connect Event for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Association which was an event I loved! It was set up to just show what the charity was up to, and because I was the guest speaker the theme of the evening was Childhood Lymphomas. It really was fascinating because as Non Hodgkin Lymphoma is fairly uncommon for my age, and Burkitts even more so, I got to hear all about the leaps that have been made in lymphoma treatment, research and mortality rates. I actually found it quite surreal because I’ve never me anyone with Burkitts before or really heard it be mentioned by anyone else at all, so to hear so much about it and meet some paediatrician lymphoma specialist really was amazing. The speaking was a few Q & As to say about how treatment was, and how I found out I had cancer, just make those there more aware. It was a really good atmosphere to speak in, intimate and everyone was lovely. I definitely sound like a total medical nerd when talking about it, but I heard a really interesting story about the discovery of a chemotherapy drug, Vincristine.
‘Once upon a time, in the West Indies during the 60’s pharmaceutical companies were interested in the doings of casual labourers harvesting sugar cane. In those parts you couldn’t work on the sugar plantations if you were diabetic, so many labourers knew they had to conceal the glucose in their urine to get a job. Somehow they managed to make their urine clear of sugars, drinking a tea made from periwinkle leaves, and it appeared to work, they would turn up, by classed non diabetic (according to their wee) and get the casual work. Of course, with pharmaceuticals thinking this could be the big time for treating diabetes. So they fed this brewed stuff to rats and…….NOTHING happened. A bit confused, the scientists injected the rats, BAM within a week they were all dead. Upon examination hey found the solution had in its pure form, wiped out the bone marrow and immune system of these rats- VIOLA they had found a cytotoxic drug, a.k.a chemotherapy, and is one of the drugs I received during my treatment.
Pretty fascinating right? Most of you will probably have skipped through that but, to all science brains out there, you learn something new every day.
That takes me nicely onto probably the main-ish thing for the week, and definitely the bigger of the two speaking engagements- the Mayor of Newport’s Charity Gala!
For those who don’t know, I first met the Mayor when he visited the TCT ward Skypad when I was an inpatient this year, and then chose it as one of his charities for the year. I have been sat on his charity panel, and was asked to attend the gala last night as a guest and representative of the Teenage Cancer Trust!
It was held at the Celtic Manor and was a thoroughly great evening. I had gorgeous food, met some great people (I think we had the best table!) and did my speech. I was so so pleased with it and not to blow my own trumpet, was definitely the best one I’ve done so far! I stood up and told everyone about who I am, that I’d had cancer and what that meant as a teenager and more importantly, what the teenage Cancer trust meant to me as a teen with cancer. I really hope it boosted the money raised and helped all the attendees REALLY know why them parting with their dosh was so important. They think more than £20,000 was raised in the evening which was amazing, and I got the RemissionPossible word out there which is always what I want. Two of the people at my table said they were going to sign up to the Delete Blood Cancer Stem Cell register after me talking to them as well which was amazing!
Because the theme of the night was Newport’s Finest, there were quite a few celebrities, that I chatted with and stuff, checkout the pictures below to see if you know who they are! There’s all sorts, from authors to rugby players to a west end star!
As always, tweet us, follow us, like us, share us, and support us! (Especially if you are new to RemissionPossible!)
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The next blog will be, called ‘Why I love…Teenage Cancer Trust’
P.S. I’ve realised a lot of our widgets don’t show up on the mobile app, so you can follow us on twitter @remissionpos and my twitter is @emy_clark and you can like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/remissionpossible2014
P.P.S As far as the discovery of Vincristine and the Periwinkle plant is concerned, there is speculation that the periwinkle tea didn’t reduce blood sugars at all, it just meant those farmers weren’t drinking their usual tea with sugar in!!!