Sian Williams presents an appeal on behalf of Hope Support Services who help the children of those who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
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It was just the worst possible time in my life,
hearing the words that I've dreaded since I was little.
I instantly thought of Emily,
instantly thought, "Oh, my God, what's going to happen?"
When we found out that it was terminal,
the hope sort of flew away a bit.
I'm going to miss out on Emily's life,
erm, and see her growing up.
Just over two years ago, I had breast cancer,
and it was the most difficult part of my life.
But one of the hardest things was worrying about how my children,
who are aged between six and 23, would cope with the news.
Which is why it's so important that there's
a charity out there that can help young people when a parent or
close family member is faced with a life-threatening illness.
Hope Support Services is a national charity which provides
online support to young people from the ages of 11-25.
When I first found out that my mum had
a form of cancer was when I was 14 years old, and it honestly...
It completely turned my world upside down.
And Emily is not alone.
18% of those with cancer have a young person living at home, which
means there are potentially 450,000 across the UK who may need help.
It's quite difficult living with someone who is constantly tired.
It's sad to watch someone so down in the dumps,
and you just want to be there for them.
They're always there for you.
Thank you. And you!
I think Emily's lost out on an awful lot of her teenage years.
She's had to accommodate me, really, which is...
It's not fair.
Erm, it should have been the other way round.
And that's how Hope can help, by alleviating the worry of
seriously ill parents so they know their children are being supported.
I was struggling a lot at school.
I was having a lot of time off lessons,
and my student mentor referred me to Hope.
Everything just started going up from there.
Young people can be referred to Hope from child support services,
and any young person can self-refer, too.
I contact Hope at least once a week if I've had
a particularly bad day, or I just fancy a chat.
It's really comforting to know there's someone there.
Hope also runs regular local youth services...
..offering activities like cake-making,
and teaching de-stressing techniques to help young people like Emily
cope with what they might be going through.
Living with a situation like this,
you don't really get time to have any time to yourself.
It's very difficult for us to do activities.
You have to constantly be grown up and forward-thinking about things.
But with Hope, they've made me feel like a kid again.
It does take a big strain off me to know that she's...
she's doing other things.
It's comforting to know there's other people going through
the same thing as you.
And Hope's online support is available to young people
throughout the UK, which means they can access help whenever they want.
In 2011, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer.
We decided, as a family, and obviously Dad as well,
that we were going to stop all treatment.
With my university work, I was starting to not go to lectures,
everything was just getting on top of me.
Due to previous mental health issues,
I started to feel less normal, and started to feel quite suicidal.
Nine months ago, Mel's father died.
Hope provided Mel with a youth worker who supported her
through this tough time.
I'm close to my mum and my brother, but we don't talk about things.
I feel like I also didn't want to talk about how I felt because
I didn't want to upset them,
and I didn't want to cause further grief for them
if what they were struggling with inside their head was just as bad as
what I was struggling with inside my head.
I probably speak to Hope online privately
maybe two to three times a week.
Speaking to other people like myself in the charity,
it gave a different perspective on empathy,
because they really knew what I was going through.
And as well as being able to message Hope whenever help is needed,
a trained therapist hosts a weekly online discussion on social media.
This costs just £25 to run,
and the effects are immeasurable.
A youth worker from Hope charity asks us if there's anything
that we want to talk about, and then it just goes on from there, really.
So, for a couple of hours, maybe,
everyone chats about how their week's been or if they have
any worries at home, and then she steps in and gives any advice.
This allows young people to access support anonymously.
If Hope was just a charity where you would have to meet face-to-face,
I probably wouldn't have attended.
Because it's online, and it's convenient, you can do your
uni work and talk to somebody on Facebook at the same time.
And Hope isn't just a bereavement service.
It offers young people help right from the very beginning,
until they feel they don't need it any more.
Without Hope's support and Hope online, I probably would
no longer be at university,
erm, and I probably wouldn't be here.
They've got me through some really dark times,
and I don't know what I would have done without them, to be honest.
I think when the time comes, when I do die, I think...
..knowing that Emily will have support is probably one of
the most important things to me, erm,
because as a parent it's a natural instinct
to want to protect your child.
But I know that somebody will be there in my place.
it's a great, great sort of comfort to know.
-I love you. I love you.
I feel happier knowing that Hope Support Services is out there
for anyone faced with a life-threatening illness
to know that their children can get help.
But to do that, they need you.
To give much-needed peace of mind to parents like Sarah,
to give young people someone to turn to in really tough times,
the charity needs financial support, so please give generously.
To give by phone, call...
Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
You can also donate £10 by texting...
Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge,
and the whole £10 goes to Hope Support Services.
For full terms and conditions, or to make a donation online,
visit the Lifeline website at...
Or if you'd like to post a donation,
please make your cheque payable to Hope Support Services,
and send it to...
..writing "Hope Support Services" on the back of the envelope.
Sian Williams presents an appeal on behalf of Hope Support Services. Hearing the words 'you have cancer' is hard enough, without having to worry who will look after your children. Hope Support Services help the children of those who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
Sarah has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has peace of mind knowing that her 17-year-old daughter Emily, has a break from helping to care for her by going to local youth sessions.
Mel's father passed away nine months ago, and she is now away at university. She can access Hope's online service, which helps her to connect with others going through the same thing.