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My Name Is NOT Cancer

Becki McGuinness stars in Paralympic Opening Ceremony!

Seven years ago whilst at college, I woke up with a sore leg and a limp. After repeated visits to the doctor, I was finally diagnosed with a benign tumour and had two major operations, one of which resulted in me having metal work put into my spine.

Four years ago I was diagnosed with bone cancer, osteosarcoma, which meant I needed to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Although this resulted in me experiencing an endless list of horrendous side effects, including hair loss, pain, fatigue, depression and early menopause, I still wanted to do something with my life.

altI recently embarked on a programme with the Prince’s Trust, an organisation that helps change young lives. This opportunity gave me the chance to experience so many new things that would equip me for a career, which will hopefully involve me working in PR for a charity. My twelve week programme included working with a team of fourteen other young adults; fundraising, volunteering and helping charities; improving job-hunting skills such as CV writing, interview techniques and work experience; and going on a week’s residential course in the Peak District!
During my work experience, I was lucky enough to be given a three-week placement at L’Oreal Head Quarters! I worked as a PR Press Assistant and was even invited to the Celebrate Success Award Ceremony, in which Prince Charles and a host of celebrities including, Joanne Lumley and Emma Bunton, were in attendance! It was a fantastic night!
I am so glad I put myself forward to join the Price’s Trust, as I needed something to keep my mind from focusing solely on my condition. There were some hurdles to overcome during course of the programme, which mainly related to people’s attitudes towards cancer, disability and people coping with adversity. Unfortunately some of the attitudes of those participating and the programme coordinators were surprisingly tactless. I had taken the time to explain my condition and the side effects of my medication but some people didn’t take this into consideration when they judged my efforts and me. Initially I was shocked by this experience but instead of giving up, I chose to complete the programme for my own satisfaction and sense of achievement.

When I completed the Prince’s Trust Team Programme, I embarked on the Prince’s Trust ‘Get Into The NHS’ Programme. I was one of twelve to be chosen out of twenty-four people to embark on a month’s voluntary work placement at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital, located near the London Eye and Westminster Houses of Parliament. I loved travelling to this hospital to see the beautiful views. The staff team was brilliant: they understood my disability and helped me to pace myself. I have truly made a lot of friends there whilst gaining vital work experience skills.
Throughout my time with the Prince’s Trust I collated a portfolio of all my work to remind me of everything I had achieved and I was awarded a Royal certificate! I have since received a personal reply to the letter I sent to Prince Charles who I thanked for what the Prince’s Trust charity has done for me. To receive such a response was unbelievable! I would whole-heartedly recommend this programme to any young adult who is 18-30 and unemployed in the UK.
Clic Sargent is also offering work experience placements to young people who have cancer. I will be embarking on this opportunity soon!

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In 2008, I was given 18 months to live. I never thought I would get to see the London 2012 Olympics yet here I am, having auditioned to perform as a wheelchair artist in the opening ceremony and I`m ecstatic to reveal that I`ve been selected to perform as a dancer at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony!

I am absolutely over the moon and cannot wait to be part of this historic and prestigious event! I really have come a long way and I`m so proud of my achievements to date! I can’t wait to celebrate in the Opening Ceremony, a spectacular event of a lifetime!

Becki

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