14 December 2022
Name: Bhavan Randhawa (Bhav)
Diagnosis/year: Follicular (non-Hodgkin) lymphoma – 2015
When did you first sail with the Trust? July 2016
What you do now? I am in my third year at the University of Hertfordshire studying ‘BSc (Hons) Radiotherapy and Oncology'.
Explain what that means?
A therapeutic radiographer is responsible for the delivery of radiotherapy treatment. Not only do we plan treatments and deliver radiotherapy using some of the latest technologies, but we are also responsible for overseeing patients throughout their treatment; making sure that they are managing in all aspects of life. We do what we can to make each patients journey as easy as possible. Every patient is so much more than their diagnosis and I think it is vital to get to know each patient as a person.
Why did you want to do this?
I’ve always had an interest in technology, but I am also a people person. In this job you get to use some of the newest (and most expensive) equipment available but whilst doing this you really get to know your patients. We see some of them every day (Monday-Friday) for up to 7 weeks. It is very rewarding knowing you may have made an impact on someone’s life whilst they are going through their toughest fight.
What's the coolest thing you've done lately?
I got to become a Graduate Volunteer for the Trust - which is something i’ve wanted to do since my first ever trip! I also went travelling around Europe with my best friend - we went to 7 countries in 9 days!
Why did you need the Trust's support in recovery?
After I finished treatment, I felt very alone. It was almost like now you’re done with treatment get back to normal life. I felt like I never came to terms with my diagnosis and never had anywhere I felt safe. That’s where the Trust came in, it gave me my safe place.
Now as a Graduate Volunteer, I can make a safe place for other people. I learnt so many new skills which opened so many opportunities which I otherwise would not have had; not only sailing but also enhanced communication, problem solving, as well as general life skills. The support I received was invaluable. I never felt like an outcast or different on the trips I was just another person – saying that I was able to be me. The friendships, connections, and memories that I have made will last a lifetime. Whilst being on the trips it’s like a big holiday but even afterwards for months it gives me such a good mentality and mindset that I can apply to all aspects of my life.
What part has the Trust played in you doing what you are doing now?
Without the Trust I would not have grown into the person I am today. I thought my life would always be restricted since my diagnosis. But I saw Graduate Volunteers and other young people achieving their dreams and they shared with me that I would too be able to reach mine.
Going into the oncology sector I was able to talk to other young people on the trips and started to realise yes, I did relate to them, but I realised I want to have an impact on people going through cancer now.
I found my degree and knew it was for me as I could help people first hand, and for those in the age range I could do things like introduce them to the Trust. I have also done other volunteering and fundraising and events to raise awareness of cancer in young people, the impact it has and things that can be done to help them.
I wish cancer never happened to me – but with the help of the Trust, other charities, doctors, nurses, friends, family etc I have been able to turn the worst news ever into the most positive experience that I have made impact my life for the better.
What's your top tip for a young person interested in working in your industry?
Get stuck in! Contact your local radiotherapy department and ask for a placement. Talk about your involvement with the Trust and any volunteering or fundraising you have done in interviews.
Do your research and see if this is the career for you – open days at universities are brilliant for this as you get to meet current students who are about to qualify like me. Follow pages such as Radiotherapy UK on social media or online. Listen to the RadChat podcast.
Most importantly don’t give up! If you truly have a passion for helping people and are happy to get involved there is nothing from stopping you – just be yourself.