A TERMINALLY ill teenager from Dartford is hoping the community will give generously to a local charity that cares for her this Children’s Hospice Week (May 11-17).
Amy Kemp is only 17 but has battled cancer for much of her short life. At the age of seven, Amy was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and was put in touch with ellenor – the only charity in Kent that provides care and support to seriously ill people of all ages. Every year ellenor provides vital end-of-life, cancer and respite care to over 150 children in the comfort of their own homes – something that Amy remembers well before going into remission. She said: “I was only little and I remember feeling very scared, especially because I needed injections all the time. My ellenor nurse Sharon would come to my house and she was absolutely amazing. In time I didn’t need numbing cream because Sharon took away any fear and anxiety. Hospitals can be a scary place when you are a child so it meant everything to be able to stay at home with my family.”
After several years of being cancer-free, Amy’s world came crashing down in 2013 after being told just two days after Christmas her cancer had returned. In a desperate bid to save her life doctors took the drastic decision to amputate Amy’s left leg below the knee. After going into remission a second time, Amy was told the devastating news in January this year that the cancer has spread to her ribs and is incurable. Amy and her family continue to receive support from ellenor, which offers round-the-clock care to families living in north and west Kent both during a loved one’s illness and following bereavement.
The former Longfield Academy Pupil, said: “My nurse is called Kay and she is incredible. She’s helped with pain relief and is always checking up on me – even just a quick call to make sure I am ok. There is no good time to be told you have cancer, but at 15 when your life is just starting it is very difficult to deal with. It’s made all the difference having the support of Kay and everyone at ellenor. “Children’s Hospice Week, 11 – 17 May, is the UK’s only awareness raising and fundraising week for children with life-limiting conditions and children’s hospice services that support them.
On Friday 15 May, ellenor is also encouraging local businesses, schools and groups to wear their comfy clothes as part of its Pyjama Friday Funday in exchange for a donation. Amy added: “I haven’t felt I’ve needed counselling from ellenor but I know it is available to me should I want it. I am very thankful to everyone who donates to ensure this charity can continue to provide care to people like me.”
For more information about ellenor and the care and support it provides to local families facing terminal illness, please visit www.ellenor.org
LIKE all teenagers Amy would love to meet her favourite singer, travel the world and come face-to-face with nature’s giants. Determined to make her wildest dreams a reality, Amy has drawn up a bucket list and called on the help of northern do-gooder Katie Cutler, who hit headlines in February by raising £330,000 for disabled attack victim Alan Barnes. Amy’s wish to see Olly Murs in concert came true this week (Tuesday 5 May) after seeing him on stage at the O2 arena, but she is yet to meet her idol in person. Other items on her list include seeing animals at London Zoo, dine in a top London restaurant and jet-set to Dubai and Australia. Amy said: “Katie Cutler has set up a foundation to raise £1million for 10 people, and I am one of the lucky people she has chosen to help. Things are slow at the moment but I am very excited that plans are underway for some of my wishes. I have got expensive taste and would really love to go to Dubai. I would also love to meet Olly Murs. I am very grateful to everyone who is helping to make my dreams become a reality.”
For more information about Amy’s bucket list visit www.katiecutlerfoundation.co.uk