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  • Hayley
  • 16th Sep. 2019

I've met the most amazing people

Hayley was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer when she was 15 years old. Following the diagnosis, she spent a lot of time in hospital, going through surgery to remove her thyroid and then radioactive iodine treatments (a type of internal radiotherapy) which meant spending a lot of time in isolation. Hayley felt scared and alone, no visitors were allowed and even the nurses couldn’t enter her room, they could only check on her from outside the doorway of the lead lined room.

Hayley missed a lot of school and important time with her peers because of her diagnosis.  Even after treatment, and when back at home, Hayley had to remain semi-isolated until the level of radiation in her body had decreased significantly.

Hayley said: “CanTeen has supported me in so many ways, including on-ward support during treatment. There’s a very large sense of camaraderie at CanTeen, and even though I was forced to be in isolation for most of my treatment, I still felt the love from CanTeen pouring in through the walls.

“I’ve learnt how to look after and care for myself even when I feel the world is on my shoulders.  CanTeen’s counselling services have taught me that I choose how I feel and that although sometimes the world is rough it’s ok to take a step back and evaluate.”

Treatment made maintaining friendships hard – and so Hayley felt left behind as her friends moved on without her.  At CanTeen, Hayley was able to connect with other young people who’ve experienced the same challenges and found comfort in her fellow members.

Hayley says: “I’ve met some of the most amazing people with the most incredible hearts and stories at CanTeen.

“CanTeen’s peer support programmes allow members like me to connect with others in similar situations and develop genuine personal connections.”

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