I remember the evening so clearly. I had a phone call from my best friend, and I was in the kitchen raiding the pantry for a snack. She told me she had been suffering depression, and I was shocked. She was always so confident, so loving, so happy. But she didn’t stop there, she said there was something wrong with her, she’d been tired all the time, so she had some tests.
It was then she burst into tears and exclaimed “Tam, I’ve got cancer!”
I was in shock. I lost all of my ability to speak beyond stutter “what?” The next while is a blur. I am sure at some point I got into a shower, but all I remember is standing under the water, letting it wash over me, watching it fall. I didn’t stop crying for hours. Unable to eat, unable to speak, all I could do was sit and cry, wracked with the grief that I may lose my best friend.
The next few days were a blur, and I’m sure I didn’t go back to school for a day or two. I got the details of what leukaemia actually was, and if there was anything anyone could do. I looked into becoming a bone marrow donor and I tried to come to terms with the idea that I may lose her. It was at this point I decided she would be fine. She would be fine because she had to be fine, I just couldn’t deal with any other outcome.
She is still around and kicking, her leukemia went into remission after many years of treatment and while she still has it, she knows it is something she will die with, not from.
During her darkest days, having had to leave school, give up work, and stay home unwell, she went to a camp run by Canteen. The camp gave her the opportunity to spend time with other teens who had cancer, to see how others dealt, and to provide support and encouragement. Ever since she went to that camp, I have taken every opportunity to give generously to Canteen and support their cause. They not only run these camps but they also provide support to patients, siblings and offspring between the ages 12-24.
I now have so many canteen bandannas I’m pretty sure I could build a king size quilt.
From just $10 a month you can support a teen getting a place at one of these camps, $20 a month will give them a spot at a week long camp and $30 a month will give a teen from a regional area a place. If you can’t commit to an ongoing donation, you can donate here or you can buy a bandanna today, 26th October, and support the work Canteen do.
Give generously to help teens with cancer. And if you ever want a bandanna quilt, let me know.
Do you support bandanna day? Have you been touched by cancer?
This is not a sponsored post.