Real Life

Real life: I survived cancer and now I'm giving back

I was terrified, lonely and didn't want other kids to be in the same position.

By As told to Take 5

Maggie Miller, 19, Sunshine Coast, Qld, shares her real life story;

Blinking my eyes open, I saw a fragment of sunshine coming through my bedroom window.
"Argh, my head!" I screamed, blinded by the trickle of light.
I'd been suffering headaches for weeks and it had forced me to miss a lot of school.
I was only 11 and hated not being with my friends, or able to dance and play netball.
Usually, all I wanted to do was be outside playing in the sun.
Now all I could do was sit in a dark, quiet room and sleep it off.
I loved dancing when I was at school. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
Mum had taken me to loads of doctors who insisted I was fine. But she was persistent and demanded a second opinion.
Finally, one sent me for an MRI scan.
"I'm afraid it's cancer," the doctor said gravely, reading the results.
They discovered I had grade-four ependymoma and ganglioma. A tumour the size of an orange was sitting on my brain.
I looked at Mum, who had tears streaming down her face, and trembled with fear.
Treatment started right away, and I underwent five surgeries, two rounds of chemotherapy and 35 bouts of radiation.
Mum slept next to me in the hospital every night to keep me company.
After my surgery. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
After six months, the tumour had gone and the doctors said that I was going to be okay.
But I felt far from it. I still suffered short-term memory loss and fatigue.
When I finally returned to school, I was really behind and my friends didn't want to hang out anymore.
As the months rolled by I felt so alone.
I had no one to turn to, so I spent hours trawling through the internet trying to find a place to talk to people who had gone through the same things as me, but there was nowhere.
Me and my boyfriend, Tom. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
Suddenly, I had an idea: what if I made my own website for young people who had been affected by cancer?
I got busy and launched The Cancer Talk Foundation and was thrilled to hear from so many others who'd had similar experiences to mine.
I wish I'd never had to go through cancer, but I'm so glad I'm doing something to help remind others that they aren't alone.

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