GCSE English Spoken Language Speech

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Introduction

Hello everyone, this is my speech on the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

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Throughout my cancer treatment, my mum constantly reminded me of the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ during those dark days. It reminded me that in the future, not far from then, I would be able to resume a normal life: filled with things that I was doing not that long ago. 

However miserable those times were, there were many ’milestone’ moments where I felt very proud of myself. I don’t remember much of the start of this journey, but luckily, there are a few memories where I proved to myself that maybe it wasn’t so bad. For the next 2 and a half years, I was jumping from St George’s in London to the Royal Marsden, in Sutton, to Medway Hospital.   

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Imagine being away from your home for so long, that you have become accustomed to the hospital and the way it works, that it starts to feel almost like a second home. Imagine sitting in a hospital room, at St George’s, all day for 5 months consistently: concealed between 4 pale yellow walls, without a speck of personality, with the only entertainment being your iPad, the Play Team and listening to your mum complaining about the horrid hospital food; but that was more my doing. My only interaction with the outer world, apart from my mum, were the nurses and doctors, especially Sariah, the best nurse I have ever met. Sometimes, the silence in the room truly was deafening, especially at night. There was nothing to see or do, except from staring out of the window towards the cramped view of London houses pasted against each other.  

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Since the beginning of my diagnosis, I had always been called a ‘mystery’ because I often had fevers, that weren’t supposed to happen. I guess I took ‘grand title’ as more of a compliment than anything else. It was because of this mystery, why my hospital stays were so long. Even when I wasn’t feeling completely myself, the Play Team persistently came in every day to check in on me. Every day they would bring in something to do, and soon the pile of sketch books and paint-by-numbers and oil pastels started building up into a little mountain in the corner of the room. There are many things I wouldn’t have tried if the Play Team didn't give it to me: like silk painting, and mosaics. With the help of one of the Play Team members, Mai, I had even managed to try a new instrument, called the kalimba. I was always desperate to show my mum the new song I had learnt.  

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During my time at St George’s, my mum and I often went to the M&S at the front of the hospital, because we couldn’t tolerate the hospital’s food. Those days were often considered like ‘field trips’ for us both because it was the only time where I willingly came out of the room. Other days, we went to one of my favourite places in the hospital. It was an almost sanctuary-like area, with an abundance of plants, trees and flowers. Most importantly, there was a fishpond in the centre of its serenity, where you could hear the koi fish flapping in the water. As it was during the summer, the water lilies in the pond had opened, adorning their white petals. I had to repetitively remind my mum that we couldn’t feed the fish, but she still snuck them some cereal from that morning into the pond. 

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Something that every paediatric patient got, regardless of what type or how aggressive the cancer was, was a Chemo Duck and the Beads of Courage. The Chemo Duck was an inclusive figure, which showed the patients what was happening to them. It had a scarf around its head, and a port-a-cath, just like I did, or a hickman line, which was usually for younger children. You could interchange the handmade crochet outfits designed for it, but I was never really one to dress up toys, so my mum would do it for me. The Beads of Courage represented your entire journey through cancer. Each colour bead stood for a procedure or event, like a yellow bead for every overnight stay, or a bumpy bead for when you had mobility issues, or 3 red beads for every blood transfusion. There were also ‘special beads’ like a bead for when I had gone to the hospital’s school, or made a piece of art. They showed how much I had endured.   

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This whole journey showed that I could do more than I thought and during the process, I learned about my condition, how I wasn’t alone in it, and about how hard the nurses and doctors worked to support me. Not only that, but it helped me learn about myself and be grateful for the simplest things, like my health and my family. It has made my achievements worth more importance. A good example of this is when I finished my treatment last year on 20th August. 

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Outro

So, thank you for listening. Maybe this has proven that cancer isn’t all just down in the dumps. There are moments where you can experience things like a normal person.  

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