Voting for the first time, why am I?

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I’m Fay, a 23 year old Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor; I underwent treatment as a teenager after a late diagnosis and have been dealing with the long term impact of cancer and its treatment since. CLIC Sargent found that one of the top priorities for young adult cancer patients and survivors was the financial impact of cancer. This isn’t surprising given how expensive it can get, the costs quickly mount up. You can read more about this here on their website.

During my treatment my parents ha d to continuously worry about finances because they both worked full time to support the family and having a child with cancer means time off work, we were lucky that other members of our family would come and sit at the hospital with me for hours so my mum and dad could go to work or spend time with my sister. As a young person it sometimes made me feel guilty that my parents had to take time away from work to be with me, cancer wasn’t my fault but I still feel responsible for its impact.

The financial impact has continued since my treatment, working full time and saving for your future is hard enough for young people but I have to deal with constant fatigue, physical limitations, having to explain my long term effects to employers and taking weeks at a time off work when my mobility is reduced and I’m too tired to leave the house.

 I received disability benefits until just after the end of my treatment and was then told I wasn’t eligible anymore because I could do too much for myself, I’m now reapplying but it’s a humiliating process when you try your hardest to work full time and take care of your own finances, unfortunately for people like me who have had cancer or still deal with its impact it’s just not that easy. The system for applying for disability benefits such as PIP is a bit of a minefield, you need a manual just to tell you where to start.

I was never very interested in voting to be honest, it just didn’t seem very relevant to me but as I’ve become more actively involved in some of the policy work CLIC Sargent have been up to I see that even sometimes the smallest of voices can make a difference and why shouldn’t this be any different in the running of our country? If enough young people vote and have their say then at least we will have had a chance to decide our future and the future of our children. If we never vote we’ll never know will we?

I’ve decided to vote for the first time because I’ve always tried to raise awareness of the issues affecting young people with cancer and I want my voice no matter how small, to make a difference, one of the simplest ways to do that is by voting. I want to make sure the process from diagnosis to long term impact is better for the next generation of young cancer patients and the only way to do this is by speaking up. Whoever you decide to vote for on the 8th June, just make sure you’re having your say about the things that affect you.

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