Helen - Young People's Appeal

Diagnosed with lymphoma aged just 21, Helen felt her world had fallen apart. Read Helen's story and find out how we were able to support her.

Helen diagnosed with lymphoma, aged 21

When I was diagnosed with lymphoma it felt as if my world had fallen apart. I'd been for tests at hospital after having chest pains. I knew it was bad news when lots of doctors took me into a side room, but I really wasn't ready for what came next.

They told me I had cancer. I'd never heard of lymphoma before, and couldn't believe what was happening to me. I was only 21. I had cancer.

I loved training to be a chef and also had a part-time job. Suddenly everything had to go on hold. I was in shock, very frightened and my life no longer felt my own. I had to start treatment almost straight away. The chemotherapy, radiotherapy and biopsies left me so exhausted I found it impossible to complete my course. I was angry and upset. Despite working so hard, my plans were out of the window and I didn't know what the future held or even if I had a future.

My family and friends were brilliant, but I didn't always want to worry them. I really needed to talk to people who understood about lymphoma and could help me prepare for what I was about to go through.

That's where Lymphoma Action was amazing. Right from the start I could call or email the helpline team and they took the time to listen, explain and give me practical information and emotional support. Lymphoma Action also runs an online community forum, workshops, support groups and a buddy programme to support people with lymphoma. It's a relief to connect with others in the same situation, people who know and understand what you're going through. It stopped me feeling so alone.

Having support I could trust helped me to stay calm and positive, even at the darkest times.

I'm doing better now. Although my treatment has finished and I'm in remission, I know Lymphoma Action are there for me, my friends and family, whenever we need them.

Helen has shared her story to support our Young People's Appeal - donate today to help the 500 teenagers and young people each year diagnosed with lymphoma

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Helen sitting on her bed

Watch Helen's films

Watch our two videos with Helen where she shares her experience of being diagnosed and treated for primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBL) and her experience of having radiotherapy.