Bucklesham: 23-year-old Samantha Catling recounts precious moments which helped her beat cancer

Samantha Catling who survived cancer and now works at St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich

Samantha Catling who survived cancer and now works at St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

A Bucklesham girl who survived cancer has spoken of the special moments which made her year of intensive treatment easier to bear.

Samantha Catling, 23, is contributing these treasured memories to highlight the preciousness of time to cancer sufferers and the need to fund vital research into the disease.

Samantha, who works for St Elizabeth Hospice, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September last year.

She had developed a persistent cough which doctor’s initially believed was caused by a chest infection. A CT scan and blood test revealed that it was in fact a lymphoma.

“The first thing I said was, ‘I’m too young to die’,” said Samantha. “Mum and Dad were devastated. We just sat there together and cried for a while. Then it was a question of - what do we do now?”

Samantha went through six sessions of chemotherapy and 15 sessions of radiotherapy over four months before the cancer was removed, but before she received the all clear she got to meet Grammy award winner Michael Bublé.

“It was the most unbelievable, incredible moment of my life and I will never forget it as long as I live,” she said.

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“I had just finished treatment and was in that awful limbo land waiting to have a scan to see if I was in remission or if I had to go through it all again. It was the longest three months of my life but I got through it looking forward to my special day.

“Now, if I’m having a bad day, I look at the picture of me and Michael and I can’t help but smile.”

Another moment cherished by Samantha was when she completed a nine-hour shift at The Shannon Inn pub where she works on top of her job at the hospice.

“A few months ago I worked my first nine hour shift in almost a year,” she said. “I don’t plan on doing it every Sunday like I used to, but I proved to myself and my friends and family who didn’t think I was up to it, that I could do it, and that cancer didn’t beat me, I beat it.

“Standing in the pub at the end of the shift, knowing I’d done it, was the moment I had aimed to get to.”

Cancer survivors and their families are invited to upload photographs and a short description of their own precious memories at Cancer Research UK’s website www.cruk.org/moments. The moments could be any point in life, big or small, that has a unique personal meaning.