The second charity that ELOC are raising money for is the Youth Support Coordinators (YSC) at the Teenage Cancer Trust. No sooner had Sophie been admitted onto the Teenage ward, she was getting to know Ella, the YSC based at the Royal Marsden, she came laden with gifts to make a teenage smile, chocolates and popcorn!
While there was a lot going on with Sophie in terms of recovery, it was just as important to find other things to focus on, find other distractions away from the daily routines of medication, physiotherapy and dressing changes. Ella got to know Sophie really quickly and soon was organising online art lessons, bringing resources to her bedside and one day we were treated to a online closeup magic show!
Ella is just one of many Yourth Support Coordinators across the country and their aim is to help young patients navigate the physical, emotional and practical impact of their treatment. It's a non-clinical role, they are in a unique position of having the time to get to know the young person and build up a professional relationship. They have a unique skill set, with high emotional intelligence and are aware of the challenges young people face when living through cancer. They provide bespoke, sensitive, thoughtful, honest and age-appropriate support throughout treatment and beyond, supporting young people to move forward with their lives regardless of their diagnosis and longer-term treatment outcomes. Our Youth Support Coordinators are often the first person a young person will turn to with questions or concerns. They are available on our hospital wards, via mobile and through one-to-one sessions.
Their aim is to try and keep young people’s lives as normal as possible during treatment. They help young people share their experiences with each other, talk about their fears and in this way help them gain some control over their cancer. Youth Support Coordinators provide an informal and relaxed atmosphere and make the hospital ward a place where teenagers and young adults aren’t afraid to go; they arrange activities to keep young people distracted, active, engaged and connected with others. They are also there to support friends and family, keeping parents and siblings in the loop, or explaining worries that young people don’t feel ready to discuss with their loved ones. Whatever is involved, it means sensitive, thoughtful support is always available at often delicate and distressing times.
We were very aware that all the resources cost a lot of money, it's not just the art and craft materials we went through, there is a library of books, shelves of games and 100's of DVDs to watch.
Since we have been on this journey to put on a charity concert with the support of the Teenage Cancer Trust, I have got to know the South and South East Relationship Manager, Lynn Hyder really well. Lynn has been great in doing everything possible to support the us, she says,
“No teenager or young adult should ever have to face cancer alone. Fundraisers like Paul, Sophie and everyone at Epsom Light Opera Company mean that Teenage Cancer Trust can fund outstanding nurses to provide care and comfort, and experienced youth workers to help them cope with emotional distress.
Without the support of fundraisers like Epsom Light Opera Company none of this would be possible.”
Many thanks, Paul, Emma and Sophie