GET SUPPORT GET CONNECTED Your Voices Tom What cancer were you diagnosed with? stomach cancer What age were you diagnosed? 35 What helped you to thrive? Although my treatment wasn’t easy, with encouragement from friends & family, I always managed to have a laugh and a giggle, even at the most inappropriate of times and with the most inappropriate of jokes. Be it the benefits of losing your hair if you’re ginger, troubles of dating with cancer (hard when people generally want something ‘long-term’), or, as happened to me, the joys of a trip to a fertility clinic with my Mum. Never again.Generally, my outlook during treatment was incredibly positive. There were lots of laughs, incredible experiences living each day as your last, and beautiful displays of love. I even saw my divorced parents hug for the first time in nearly 30 years. Tom's Story Two years ago today I was diagnosed with stomach cancer and given a 50% chance of living the next 5 years. I had been living in Australia, and whilst on a bike ride with friends (on a tour of the Hunter Valley wineries, not a serious race!) I started getting very out of breath. Returning to Sydney after the weekend away, I still wasn’t feeling great. I went to A&E, and very quickly they discovered I was severely anaemic. However, they couldn’t work out why. After a week of tests and scans, I received the diagnosis. I started my chemotherapy treatment pretty quickly, choosing to stay in Sydney rather than travel back to London immediately, as they could start the care immediately. Once my three cycles of chemotherapy were over and I had the chance to build my strength back up, I returned to the UK for surgery, having the majority of my stomach removed. Surgery went well, but I then had further chemotherapy for 3 months until it was confirmed that I was in remission.Although the treatment was hard, what has proved somewhat harder than the treatment itself has been adjusting to life after treatment and learning to live with the effects of cancer. Not just the physical complexities of having the majority of my stomach removed, but the psychological impact too, especially the upheaval of leaving a new life in Sydney and returning to London. Facing cancer as a young adult is tough and comes with a complex set of challenges that can effectively place your life on hold when everyone else can appear to be moving forward. For me, this has had a knock-on effect on my confidence, leaving me with increased anxiety and has culminated in a recent diagnosis of clinical depression. This is where Trekstock came in to help. Trekstock ensures that no young adult has to face cancer alone. Trekstock exists to provide relevant practical and social support, helping young adults navigate their journey through and beyond treatment for cancer, and this is the reason I am so keen on supporting them in return. Not only have they helped me personally, but they will also continue to help provide support to over 100,000 young adults in their 20’s and 30’s living with or the affects of cancer and ensure that no young adult has to face cancer alone. I only wish that I had made contact with them sooner.