Brave teenager in new battle

BRAVE teenager Tom Roden is facing his second battle to overcome cancer - but is determined to beat the killer disease and take up his place at university.

BRAVE teenager Tom Roden is facing his second battle to overcome cancer - but is determined to beat the killer disease and take up his place at university.

Tom, 19, is currently undergoing weeks of chemotherapy and in the New Year faces surgery.

But the modest young man remains cheerful, determined and is being given great encouragement by friends and family and also the Scout Movement he has served for 13 years with the presentation to him of the Chief Scout's Award for Meritorious Conduct.

“People are being really supportive and all I want is to get through this and get rid of the cancer once and for all,” said Tom.

“The university has agreed to defer my course until next year so I have the added incentive of a really long summer holiday next year before I go back to my studies!”

Tom, who lives with his mum and dad, Julie and Andre and brother Alfie, 17, at Valley Walk, Felixstowe, overcame cancer of the spine and was given the all-clear earlier this year.

Most Read

He had been diagnosed in May last year and attended University College Hospital, London, for chemotherapy and radiotherapy, followed by two operations to remove the growth from his spine at Stanmore Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

After his recovery and building up his strength throughout the spring and summer, he went off to the University of East Anglia at Norwich to begin his degree in accountancy and finance.

“Freshers' Week was great and I had a brilliant time and met so many people and was really looking forward to university,” he said.

“Then in my first lecture I started getting these horrible pains in my chest and shoulder and I had to walk out. They did an x-ray at the medical centre and it was found the cancer had come back and this time is affecting my right lung.

“The doctors warned me it could come back and now I am going through chemo all over again, which is annoying and frustrating.”

He is having his treatment on the teenage cancer ward at the hospital in London.

“I have to go for five or six days for chemo, then I am at home for a week indoors because I have no white blood cells, which is very frustrating as I love to walk, and then I have a week when I am clear and get back to college to see my flatmates for a couple of days, which is great,” said Tom.

The scouts award came as a “complete surprise”.

Rob Rushen-Smith, group scout leader for the 8th Felixstowe Scout Group, said Tom's courage, energy and enthusiasm was an inspiration to all the members of the unit.

Send you messages of encouragement to Tom - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk