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The Big Meet – Just do it!

I’d been to a family fun day but I didn’t meet many people my own age, so I was looking forward to talking to other teenagers who’d had similar experiences.

Hi! My name’s Molly and on the 22nd of June 2016 I was diagnosed with an Ependymoma in the cerebellum, after struggling with severe symptoms for two months. Five days later, I had surgery and flew to Florida for proton beam therapy. I’m now one year into remission and started my first year at sixth form this September!

During September, I attended The Charity’s first ever Young Adult Big Meet: I’d been to one of the family fun days but this had been full of very young kids and I didn’t meet many people my own age so I was looking forward to talking to other teenagers who’d had similar experiences. Whilst I was ill, I had to take a year out of education which I found really isolating but about a month before the Big Meet, a Young Adult Facebook group had been set up with messages going around and I’d already begun to feel a bit less alone in this whole crazy journey.

So, the day came around and my Mum, Dad, Sister and I set off! I was a little bit nervous as I didn’t think I’d really know anyone and was worried about getting tired and not being able to enjoy the day but that all disappeared very quickly. Firstly, we all arrived and did some icebreakers, throwing a massive soft basketball around and saying our name and (for some reason) the first thing we put on that morning. I soon realised that I recognised quite a few people from the Facebook group and there was even one boy that I’d met at the family fun day earlier that year. Then we were off doing activities: I did archery, climbing and in the afternoon, loads of people took part in a massive crate stack challenge regardless of the pouring rain. It was so much fun and I got talking to everyone, sharing experiences and just getting to know each other. We roasted marshmallows on a campfire, built shelters and if you were starting to get tired there was an indoor space where we made quirky arts and crafts or you could just chill out on the chairs, with the biscuits of course!

One of my favourite things was definitely meeting others and getting to talk about what we’d all experienced with everyone understanding what it’s like. I met one girl who had come all the way from Ireland to the day; we’d both previously spoken through the Facebook group as we had both received proton beam therapy so could talk about something that most other people have never even heard of.

To anyone thinking about going to a Big Meet I have no other words than just do it! For the first time since diagnosis, I finally met people my own age who’d had a brain tumour and completed activities I never thought I’d be able to do again! It’s also a great way to stay in touch with all The Brain Tumour Charity crew: they genuinely want to know how you’re doing and make sure you have a great time, so any worries at all about the day, let them know as they’re there to help! I think after all of this you get the message; I really loved going to this day and both me and my family got so much out of it. I hope everyone reading this is doing okay and I’m sure I’ll meet some of you in the future as I’ll be going to a lot more of these events, and I hope you will too!