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Jak was diagnosed with skin cancer when he was 21. Over time he came to realise that cancer happened to him, but it's not who he is


Jak was diagnosed with skin cancer when he was 21. He wants people to know that the impacts of diagnoses like his are bigger than most people realise

What do you want people to know about your experience?

I’d want people to know the real depth of skin cancer and just how devastating it can be, it’s more than what the media portrays. Skin protect and skin safety is incredibly important, our skin is our biggest organ we must be careful with it. And to know that life does exist beyond your cancer diagnosis, it’s so hard to see past it once you’re in it I didn’t believe it once either but better exists for you.

What does being a young person who’s had a cancer diagnosis mean to you?

Being young person diagnosed with cancer will be something that’ll be etched into my person hood forever, it stopped me in my tracks before I was able to even find my path in life however it changed me for good. I would never be who I am today without having experienced what I had to. My favourite saying is “cancer is a terrible way to meet amazing people”. I am fortunate to have grown with people who I can connect with so personally even thought over something terrible. The community part of cancer is so uplifting and an honour to be a part of. I’ve made friends I’ll hold close for life.

What does being part of a community of young people who have also experienced cancer meant to you?

Being such an independent person before cancer, I hated the fact I was both physically and mentally stripped of most of my abilities for so long. I struggled to pick myself up and get myself moving again. Trekstock's workshops, help and sense of community is a huge push for every young person facing cancer.

What does living life alongside cancer mean to you?

For so long I felt I had lost myself in the chaos of cancer which can so easily happen. You change completely as a person and as a young person that’s so hard to process. I promised myself despite the circumstances I was never going to allow cancer to dictate my life or who I was. From then I gained full control. In time, I adapted to having to live life differently to the average person my age but I never let it stop me. I continued to live a life as fully as possible, reminding myself everyday - cancer happened to me, but it’s not who I am.

What do you wish you’d known about cancer?

I do wish I was more vigilant with how important it is to be cautious with our bodies and I would have been more aware of how dangerous cancer can be. More connected with the fact cancer can and will happen to anyone. Also how lonely life with cancer was took my by surprise, I felt so isolated from everything. But to that I will say it doesn’t feel that way forever.

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