Just over two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was one of my most challenging times and one of the hardest things was worrying about how my children would cope.
This is why I’m proud to support the work of Hope Support Services as it can provide reassurance to seriously ill parents that their children are being supported.
A health crisis affects everyone in the family. Having Hope Support Services there to help young people if they’re struggling to cope can really make a difference, both to the parents and their children.
The BBC Lifeline Appeal documentary follows the stories and journeys of Sarah, Emily and Mel.
17-year-old Emily is a media student from Gloucestershire. She first came into contact with Hope Support Services three years ago, after her mother, Sarah, was diagnosed with cancer. The family has since learnt that the disease is terminal.
Throughout this period Emily has used Hope’s online support as well as attending local youth sessions run by the charity in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.
Emily says, ‘I used to get stressed out about everything. I was having a lot of time off lessons. I basically just started giving up and my student mentor referred me to Hope. I got involved with them and everything started going up from there.’
‘It’s really comforting to know [Hope] are there…They make me smile when I don’t feel like smiling.’
Sarah says, ‘to know that Hope is there for Emily is incredibly important. I think when the time comes and I do die, I think knowing that Emily will have support is one of the most important things to me.’
Melissa, 23, started university in 2015 and is studying to become a vet. In her first year at university she received the news that her father’s cancer, which he had been fighting since 2011, was terminal. Mel’s father passed away in 2016.
During this period Mel was referred to Hope Support Services.
She says, ‘If Hope was a charity where I could just meet face to face, I wouldn’t have attended many sessions but because it’s online and it’s convenient... you can do your uni work and talk to somebody (on Facebook) at the same time.’
‘Sometimes I will be watching something and triggers will remind me of Dad and I’ll end up having to message Hope just to talk to someone and calm me down’
‘Without Hope support and Hope online, I probably would no longer be at University and I probably wouldn’t be here.’