Intro After treatment Trip fears The reality The difference The aftermath

“The Trust changed both our lives.”

Ben, from Sheffield, was eight when diagnosed with bone cancer in his left leg. After 10 months of treatment as an in-patient at The Children’s Hospital, and then another year of trying to save his leg, it was amputated. He would not leave mum Dawn’s side.

After treatment

Dawn:

We both lost our independence. For two years Ben spent 24 hours a day with me and would scream if I left his side.

He was scared I was going to die.

Ben:

I didn’t really see my friends when I was in hospital. When I came out it was awkward as I was used to being in hospital.

I didn’t know what to say.

Trip fears

Dawn:

Ben didn’t want to go on the Trust trip but I knew he had to. He needed to separate from me.

I had to let him go.

Ben:

I was anxious about missing my mum and nervous about talking to new people. My throat was scarred from treatment and I couldn’t eat very well. I was confident on my prosthetic leg but didn’t know if I’d keep falling over on a boat.

The reality

Ben:

When I talked to people it felt like they understood because they had been through the same. It was the first time I’d spoken to anyone about cancer. If I couldn’t swallow I didn’t feel embarrassed.

I liked having to do jobs on the boat; I didn’t need help. I could get on the boat myself and even walking to the toilet with no help gave me confidence. It was a big thing to do this when I thought I’d be falling over all the time.

I felt I could do anything. I forgot about missing home.

The difference

Dawn:

The change in him was obvious immediately.

He had a much more positive attitude, could distance himself from me and was a bit more independent.

He was sorting out washing and tidying his room!

The aftermath

Dawn:

The trips have given Ben a ‘normality’, shown him there are others like him and there’s no need to be ashamed. He plays out with friends and goes to sleepovers now. He does things for himself.

It’s changed both our lives.

Ben:

I loved my second trip at Water Park too. I got more confident again. This time it was easier to just use my crutches. Even on unstable or slippery surfaces I thought ‘I’m ok, I can do this’.

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