Terminally Ill Cancer Patients Share Their Stories As They Fight For Survival

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Nick Givas Media And Politics Reporter
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The Sun published an article about a group of terminally ill cancer survivors, who’ve found redemption in sharing their story.

The April 13 article profiled four patients from England, each with a unique and harrowing personal journey.

A young 14-year-old girl named Ellie Waters began vlogging (video blogging) to discuss her illness and chart her medical progress.

“She’s not like any other teenager,” the story reads. “She has cancer and her YouTube channel is dedicated to charting her heartbreaking battle with the disease.”

Waters was diagnosed in 2015 and shared the diagnosis in a YouTube debut titled “My Cancer Story.”

In the video, her long brown hair is gone from chemotherapy and she had a tube running out of her nose, but she maintained a positive and upbeat attitude about her future. Waters is now in remission, according to The Sun. She credits her YouTube videos with helping her overcome the lonely isolation brought on by a cancer diagnosis.

Emily Hayward, 24, said it took a year for her to discuss her terminal condition in front of the camera. Hayward was formerly a personal trainer and has survived with terminal melanoma for seven years.

“From the calf, the cancer spread to my lymph nodes, then to my liver and lung, chest and up to the brain and down to my left hip, which is currently the biggest site,” she told The Sun. She has been given less than a year to live.

Despite her diagnosis, Hayward keeps a calm and measured demeanor in her videos, showing a courage rarely seen by most adults. Her life has been reduced to two things: frequent hospital visits and planning her wedding.

She touches upon a common struggle for most cancer patients: “scanxiety.” The angst and stress of waiting on test results that could dramatically alter your entire life.

“She shares everything from her ‘scanxiety’ when waiting for results to shots of her undertaking radiotherapy, swallowing the dizzying cocktail of medication which has been keeping her alive,” the article reads.

“I get a buzz from uploading a video,” she said. “The reaction makes you feel great and motivates you to be well again the next day. I’ve become more and more like myself. It’s actually changed me as a person … I always knew that I was going to die young from cancer but maybe not this young, so we’re still trying to maximize life.”

Hayward said a woman with cancer reached out to her and thanked her for helping her learn how to die well.

“You’ve taught me how to die,” the woman told Hayward. “She was in a state of depression and said I’d helped her cope with it better.”

Tabs Headington, 18, is suffering from synovial sarcomas, an aggressive form of cancer. “I have always been a sucker for social media, but obviously I didn’t expect it to turn out quite like this,” she said.

Now in remission, Headington adheres to a strict vegan diet to aid her recovery. She claims she’s been told “get off her high horse” but doesn’t let others deter her, according to The Sun. She believes she wouldn’t be here today if she didn’t take control of her treatment plan and do her own research, independent of her doctors.

“My tumour was very rare and it was quite big at the time I got it removed, and because of the rarity we all decided it would be best to do integrated medicine,” Headington said.

Daniel Thomas, 32, was diagnosed with sarcomatoid carcinoma, an aggressive and rare form of cancer, in 2015.

He is at the hospital frequently and has also suffered mini-strokes, according to The Sun.

“My original prognosis three years ago was four to six months,” he said. “Nowadays the general consensus is that I am living on borrowed time.”

“For me, day-to-day life is really hard,” he continued. “I have a lot of cancer in me and it is making me very weak and tired. I do miss being a normal person.”

Thomas established a GoFundMe page to fund research into his disease and to spread awareness.

Former North Carolina state basketball coach Jimmy Valvano is famous for giving his last speech at the ESPY awards in 1993, when he was dying of cancer. These individuals embody the spirit of Valvano’s words and remind us to never give up.

“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities,” Valvano said. ” It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

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