Sproughton: ‘If he can beat cancer, he can do anything’

A YOUNG man today told of his determination to become an apprentice after TWICE beating cancer – but then finding it impossible to get a job.

Kristen Carden was working at lawnmower factory Atco in Stowmarket when, aged just 17, he discovered he had testicular cancer.

The now 21-year-old said: “I was in shock and I couldn’t really take it in.

“When you have got cancer, you have to take each day as it comes and don’t think any further. I think my mum and dad were more scared than I was.”

After being laid up in Ipswich Hospital for months and undergoing a gruelling chemotherapy regime, he bravely returned to work and things started to get back to normal.

But a year later, in November, 2008, he collapsed while out with friends in Felixstowe. He was taken to Ipswich Hospital, but doctors realised the situation was so grave they immediately referred him to cancer specialists at St Barts in London.

He was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour between his lungs and heart, and had to undergo months of intensive high dose chemotherapy which he called “the hardest struggle of my life”.

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But after being given the all-clear in June, 2009, Kristen has faced another mountain to climb – finding a job.

Kristen, who lives in Gipping Way, contacted the Evening Star to take part in our 100 apprentices in 100 days campaign, to help employers find the best talent to train up.

He said: “You think when you come out of hospital, you will get a job straight away – you feel pretty good about yourself and you start to feel on top of the world – then you try to get a job and everyone says no.

“I would love to get my life back on track. I’m willing to learn and I’m a pretty decent person to work with because I get on with everybody.”

His dad, John, 45, is desperate for him to get a chance. He said: “He’s got a heart of gold and he works hard, and he just needs a break.

“He’s a hands-on bloke and he wants to learn – if he can beat cancer, he can do anything.”

The former Stoke High School pupil says he is not afraid of hard work and is just keen to get his self-respect back.

He added: “I just want to get the help I need to start my life again. If I could get an apprenticeship, it would make my year.”