Live like there’s no Tomorrow – Sam’s Story

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“Sometimes, Superheroes reside in the hearts of small children fighting big battles”.

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For Sam.


I’m not sure how to begin writing this post. I hope I do the little dude, and his family in question, proud…

To start with, it’s a break from my usual inebriated ramblings and I’m actually going to talk about something serious for a change.

Childhood Cancer.

The UK’s biggest child killer.

Sadly, we have all been touched by the utter bugger that is Cancer at some point in our lives. We all know someone who has had it, you may have battled against it yourself, you may have lost a friend or a loved one to it. Cancer doesn’t descriminate. It doesn’t care who it touches, who it takes, who it weakens. It’s merciless and, as yet, there is no way to prevent it.

It’s a lottery. Like the toss of a coin. Heads or tales. You win or you loose.

Cancer is so merciless, as we know all too well, that even children fall victim to it’s grasp. And this fact is so hard to swallow. It’s the ultimate nightmare.

We all think that ‘it won’t happen to us’, we assume we will be fine and that it’s something that only happens to other people.

Luckily for me and my family, this has been the case for us so far, and I’m greatful to the moon and back for my families health (as much as I moan about them all…)

Sadly however, this ultimate nightmare has touched someone close to me, my friends and my son and I felt compelled to write a piece about it.

So, with the permission of his wonderful Mum, Tamsin, here is my blog post dedicated to the little cancer fighting ‘Arsenal FC loving’ ninja that is, Sam.

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Sam was a normal little lad. Sam’s family were your typical family. Just like you or me. His mum loves Gin…just like me.

Until, one day, Sam was in pain. Lots of pain.

After days of A&E visits, being turned away, being sent home with painkillers, investigations and blood tests, little Sam was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Their world stopped turning. The days passed in a blur. And as a fellow mum, I felt helpless.

I didn’t know Tamsin that well then. Her son, Sam, was in a different class to my son, but in the same year and a friend of mine had a son who was best buddies with him.

The shock when the news unfurled between the parents, between the school community, was unfathomable.

How could this happen to someone at our school, who is the same age as our children?

What could we do?

We felt helpless. And devastated, so goodness knows how Sam’s family felt.

I remember sitting at home sobbing as I read the email from Tamsin informing everyone about it. How do you even begin to write an email like that?! She is so amazing. It’s something nobody should ever have to write. My child has cancer. Those words should never be written or said by anyone, but sadly it’s happening every day. To normal people like you and me. To normal people like Tamsin and Stuart. But write it she did. Strong from the off, a fighting spirit that has kept her and her family going through the toughest of times. The Sharland family have fought this battle as a team, and I am in utter awe of them. There are no words that do them justice.

Sam and his family were told he had 3 years and 4 months of treatment ahead of him to help rid him of this cancer. This unwelcome invader.

He has 1 year remaining before his treatment ends. And i truly hope that by this time next year, things for the Sharland family and little Sam are brighter. More normal. More carefree.

During this time Sam lost his hair, he felt more poorly than anyone should ever have to feel and all the while, kept a smile on his face. I don’t know how he’s done it. He’s a complete trouper.

His family have tried to ensure he has kept as normal a life as possible during his treatment. School have been brilliant, and Sam is flying academically because of it. A real testament to all involved.

I see Sam almost every day. He walks to school like any normal kid, he argues with his little brother Ross like any normal kid, he moans that he wants some more match attax like any other kid, but Sam isn’t ‘like any normal kid’. He’s a superhero. He’s a little fighter. And I truly hope he has a happy, healthy and carefree future ahead of him.

Sam’s hair has now grown back, he’s doing amazingly well at school and his family have taken the mindset that “Life is too short” and to “live for today”. They have maximised their opportunities when they can and made sure that Sam has had the best 3 years of his life, even though the reality is they have probably been the worst. Days out, trips away, eperiences of a lifetime. All so deserved.

They wanted to ensure Sam had happy memories of this time, not sadness, and I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s mission accomplished where that is concerned.

Well done Team Sharland.

Please take some time to read Sam’s Story on the Children with Cancer website.

And if you have a few spare pennies (think the cost of a bottle of Wine or Gin) and fancy donating to this amazing and worthwhile cause, Children with Cancer UK, please do.

Kids should be able to be kids. To have no worries. To be well.

Cancer is an arsehole. Let’s help to stop it.

Please share this post.

It would mean the world to me, The Sharland’s, Sam, and everyone else affected by this despicable illness.x

childhood-cancer-awareness-ribbon….one more thing before I go. Sam is a MASSIVE Arsenal Fan. Huge. I however, am a Chelsea Fan. It pains me to do this but I am going to add a photo to the bottom of this post, just for Sam.

This is for you Buddy…

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19 Comments

  1. Tamsin sharland
    April 27, 2016 / 10:08 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this blog Gemma. You are so eloquent, finding words I never could. The time and effort you’ve spent means a lot, as does your thoughtful encouragement. Much love Tams xxx

  2. admin
    April 27, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    This has made my life. What smashing words – thanks for letting me share your story Tamsin and I hope I did you all proud…
    Fingers crossed life can begin again next year and we will be there when it does, cheering you all on.
    You’re absolute legends.xxxxx

  3. April 28, 2016 / 6:06 am

    Typing through the tears. Such a brilliant written post, you should be proud. What an incredible little boy and an amazing family. My thoughts are with them all for this last year and beyond. Sadly cancer has been in my life for the last two years and the way it takes hold of people’s life is unimaginable. xx
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Alice’s First Birthday…Looking Back #8My Profile

  4. admin
    April 28, 2016 / 9:27 am

    Ah, Laura. I’m sorry I made you cry and I’m so sorry you’re living the cancer journey in your life too. It’s just hideous. The sooner a cure is found, the better.
    Little Sam is such an amazing lad, he just gets on with it. As do his family. They’re just super. Sending love.xx

  5. April 28, 2016 / 10:06 am

    What a lovely post for a brave little boy and his family! I read it holding my breath and thought the worse… So glad it ended well, I’ll be praying for Sam’s recovery! xx
    Dean of Little Steps recently posted…What Gymnastics has taught my daughterMy Profile

  6. April 28, 2016 / 10:11 am

    I don’t normally get emotional but this has really tugged my heart strings. It’s so sad that innocent children are going through this and it’s horrible to hear that it’s one of the biggest killers of children 🙁 x

  7. admin
    April 28, 2016 / 11:26 am

    Oh bless you Dean. He’s very much still fighting, and they won’t know until they stop treatment in April as to whether it’s actually been successful or not (can you imagine?! Going through all that only for it not to have worked…) but the signs at the moment are positive and he’s doing so well.
    Just makes you realise doesn’t it, me especially, when I’m moanining about my kids and husband that actually, I’m very lucky…
    Thanks for reading.xxx

  8. admin
    April 28, 2016 / 11:28 am

    Ah, bless you Rhian. I just felt like I really wanted to write about it, when it touches someone close to you, you can’t help but feel like you want to do something, anything, to help.
    Sorry I’ve made you all sad! I’m normally the opposite and have my sarcastic, sweary head on but this post was something I needed to do.
    Thanks for reading and writing.xx

  9. Eliana
    April 28, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing his story. It’s so true we all think it won’t happen to us.. But great examples of courage and good attitude like Sam’s and his family should be emulated. Happy to know he’s doing much better! X

    #bloogerclubUK

  10. admin
    April 28, 2016 / 3:38 pm

    Thanks for your kind words Eliana.xx I’ll pass all kind words onto Sam’s family.xx

  11. April 28, 2016 / 7:07 pm

    This has put such a lump in my throat, you have written the post beautifully and your worries about not doing it justice can be put to rest. One of the little ones at my child’s pre-school was diagnosed with cancer, he passed away at 4. It’s heartbreaking. H x
    Harriet from Toby & Roo recently posted…Holiday during school time, worthy of a fine?My Profile

  12. admin
    April 28, 2016 / 8:31 pm

    Oh Harriet, that’s beyond words. I do remember reading about it on your blog now you’ve mentioned it – how utterly heartbreaking. It’s just so unfair and so sad. Poor little lad. Can’t stop crying now…
    Thanks for the reassurance on my writing, I just wanted to do them proud and it’s lovely to know I’ve done a good job on their behalf.x

  13. April 28, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    Beautifully written piece – gave me a lump in my throat. Sometimes we don’t give children the credit for just how strong they are and Sam is clearly proof of that. Fingers crossed for this time next year!

  14. April 28, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    This is heart wrenching. A beautifully written post. Sam is such a strong, wonderful little person. My hopes and heart go out to his family. I really hope that next year brings good fortunes. x

  15. admin
    April 29, 2016 / 5:37 am

    Ah, bless you. Thanks Ellen. He’s a little star that’s for sure. Chemotherapy each month, tablets, injections, lumbar punctures very few weeks…its unimaginable. I don’t know how they do it. Thanks so much for reading and writing.xxx

  16. admin
    April 29, 2016 / 5:39 am

    Same here Chloe. He’s a superstar. Roll on next year, it’s the only reason I’m wishing time would go faster… X

  17. April 30, 2016 / 7:45 pm

    Noone should have to go through cancer especially someone as young as Sam. My aunty had cancer and is recovering but my grandma died of cancer. They were both adults but Sam is a child, he still has so much to live. Praying that his cancer treatment goes ok. Keep us updated.

  18. April 30, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    Gosh. What a post… as I sit here, in a hotel room with my children asleep I am thankful. And sad for Sam. And angry for Sam, and all the children like him, who have to battle the unthinkable and the damn right unfair.
    Sending huge love to Sam and his family, Stay strong and keep fighting. You’ve got this … keep going.
    Anna xx
    Anna Fraser recently posted…FridayStylefinder: A Perfect Wedding Guest Dress by OasisMy Profile

  19. admin
    April 30, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    So sorry it’s a full on post Anna.
    I’m normally the opposite and only write funny stuff but had to help a friend out where I could.
    Your words are so kind and I’ll send them on to Tamsin, Sam’s mum. She is so grateful to everyone sending their well wishes.
    Have a lovely time with your family whatever you’re doing. Gem.x

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