A check on reality


Life has its ups and downs.

We annoy loved ones. We annoy ourselves. We make mistakes. We make memories.

A couple of weeks ago, I was given a life reality check.

A little background to this post.

I’ve supported Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) for many years, 9 to be exact. I remember to this day, the first time I was told about the charity. I was in secondary school and my form teacher was ill, so we had a stand-in. He was one of the D.T Technicians, who everyone got on really well with. His name was David Rowles and I could tell in the hour he had with us, that he was passionate about TCT and his involvement as a supporter. I remember staying behind after the class had finished and happily chatting to him a bit more, which resulted in me inviting him and his wife up to Radio Glamorgan.

That was 2007.

tct opening dayTwo years later in 2009 – A brand new unit opened in the heart of the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff – Nicknamed the “Skypad”. It was the first Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Wales to be opened.

I made sure Radio Glamorgan was there on its opening day and that we made a big deal of it.

It was also one of my first outside broadcasts I ever did and I had a great time, Judge for yourself with the cheesy picture I found!

Okay, so now we fast forward to 2016.

A couple of weeks ago, it was the turn of TCT to broadcast from the Radio Glamorgan studio. It’s a little project to get the patients out of the unit for a short while and have the opportunity to “play radio” in our state of the art complex.

I was very keen to get this collaboration off the ground, and made sure I was available. We’d find out more about the patients, hear from the parents and the staff too.

The day came and being honest, I was quite excited as it was something different to my usual run-of-the-mill radio stuff I do week in, week out. (To which I enjoy but this was like getting a new toy – It was new and exciting!) I remember walking towards the studio door, letting myself in and being greeted by the Youth Co-ordinator for TCT and a young couple (who will remain nameless) who were to be the first presenters of what was being billed on Radio Glamorgan as the “TCT Takeover“.

The girl turned to me and said,

“Hello J, are you alright…”

Naturally, I responded in a chirpy way – but it took me a few seconds to register in my head that I actually knew her. I had worked with and mentored this girl and now she had been admitted to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit.

She was being treated for Leukemia.

I fought back any tears or any emotion at that point and we all got on like nothing was an issue. The show, which was an hour in length went really well and was well received by all too.


An hour later after the show, I sat quietly on my own and then it really hit me like a wave you’re not expecting.

Someone I knew, who is only a few years younger than me was being treated for Cancer.

Cancer, a word that’s usually associated with the older generation.

If that’s what you thought, think again. Cancer can affect anyone.

These last few months have been pretty tough mentally for me, but my goodness nowhere near as tough as it has been for that young couple. Teenage Cancer Trust really are doing fantastic work and I have witnessed that first hand. The support they’ve given the couple I know, to ensure that they remain living normal lives like any teenager/young adult does, whilst getting treated goes above and beyond. I really can see why my teacher was so passionate when he was telling my class about TCT.

It’s rare that I’m serious but for a moment, I’m going to be.

In life you fall out with people. You have misunderstandings. You have disagreements.

We annoy loved ones. We annoy ourselves. We make mistakes. We make memories.

But nothing is more important than your family and friends.

Life is short. Appreciate what you’ve got and don’t be an arse about it.

Because trust me on this. Hand on heart. After that one day – I most certainly do.

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