Smethwick cancer survivor backs Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Local teenager calls for raise awareness of support charity.

Mohini Samani, aged 16, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of nine. The teenager and her family are backing this year’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to highlight the impact childhood cancer has on families across the UK.

In 2007 Mohini developed severe pain in her legs, but initially her GP said it was just growing pains. But when they didn’t go away she was referred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Mohini said: “As soon as I got to the hospital, they did a blood test and they knew straight away. I had cancer.

“When you are diagnosed with cancer your life is turned upside down. It was a very scary time and I was not sure what life had in store for me. I had to grow up very quickly and I almost felt that I had to turn into an adult overnight.”

She was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Mohini underwent two and a half years of intensive chemotherapy treatment, which resulted in her hair falling out and has left her with ongoing pain in her leg and hip.

Every month, thousands of families like Mohini’s deal with the devastating impact of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment, which is often gruelling and can start immediately, last as long as three years and take place many miles from home.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, held in September, is a chance to raise awareness of the impact of childhood cancer, and of CLIC Sargent’s work supporting young cancer patients and their families.

Mohini’s mum Urvashi Radia said: “Soon after starting treatment I was introduced to my CLIC Sargent Social Worker, Orlando. Now that I think about it, I do not know what I would have done without him. It was so was nice to have a have a happy person around because being on the hospital can be really depressing.

“He also recommended a CLIC Sargent Holiday to Malcolm Sargent House in Scotland, so we went with another family we’d met at the hospital. It was great to be able to get away and wind down.”

Mohini, who has just got straight A and A* grades in all but one of her GCSEs, added: “I don’t know what I would have done without Orlando. He was always there for me, even if it was just to make me laugh.”

CLIC Sargent Director of Fundraising, Lucy Caldicott, said: “We’re so pleased Mohini and his family are supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Every month, thousands of families deal with the devastating impact of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment and CLIC Sargent is here to provide vital practical, emotional and financial support. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is a great opportunity for people to show they are standing by children with cancer.”

This year, CLIC Sargent is asking people to wear a gold ribbon to show their support for the thousands of families coping with the devastating impact of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. Gold ribbons are available to buy from CLIC Sargent’s online shop or branches of the supermarket Lidl, JD Wetherspoon pubs or fashion retailer Wallis.