We have been incredibly busy the last few months with dozens of referrals to support families, teenagers and young adults in Essex in a variety of different ways. Because we receive referrals from organisations that support families directly we rarely have direct contact ourselves with the families we support so it’s especially lovely when we receive a thank you from a family we’ve helped.
 
Last year GTCA bought Year 11 pupil Jessica Wilson a laptop to help her continue her studies while receiving treatment for ALL.
Jessica is a very determined young woman but she is worried, because she is now 18, about being able to ever complete her A level studies and do what she wants to do, which is go into paediatric nursing. This year we assisted Jessica with a further £500 grant which she will put towards her online A levels.
 
Jessica’s mum wrote to us to thank GTCA:
 
We would like to say a really big thank you to all of you at GTCA for donating an Apple Macbook Pro to Jessica.
After being unwell since October Jessica was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia on 4th December 2015. At the time, she was in year 11 at school, but due to the amount of time spent in hospital and not being well enough to attend school, when she was at home, she missed out on most of that school year. Jessica returned to year 11 in September 2016 and attends as much as she can. She sat her English language GCSE in October and got a ‘B’, which we are so proud of and is hoping to sit some GCSE’s with her year group soon.
Jessica is now in the maintenance stage of her treatment, which is oral chemo daily. During her treatment, Jessica was suffering with unbearable pain and they discovered that she had Osteonecrosis (AVN) in both knee areas and both hips which has been caused by the harsh treatment. It was also discovered that Jessica has hip dysplasia which she’d had all of her life and even though she had been under numerous consultants it was never picked up and always put down to ‘growing pains’. Jessica is on daily morphine for these issues.
Jessica is due to finish her Leukaemia treatment at the end of February 2018 and when her blood levels have settled she will have major surgery to sort out her hip dysplasia and AVN.
Although Jessica still has a long way to go she is always positive and keen to study, she hopes to train to be a paediatric oncology nurse.
Jessica misses out on the day to day stuff that her friends can do and places they can go so receiving the Macbook was a lovely gift for her. She is using it a lot for her studying as it is easy for her to use wherever she is.
 
We were really surprised and grateful for the £500 grant for Jessica and wanted to say a very big thank you.
Jessica will be putting it towards paying for her online A levels. She has missed so much time from college and school due to her Leukaemia and with awaiting major hip surgery online studying seems to be her only option.
It seems that once you turn eighteen there isn’t much support for you educationally, which seems really unfair to me. This is something that I will be fighting for when I have a bit more time and hopefully get some changes made for others that are in this situation. But for now the money you very kindly gave to Jessica will make it possible for her to get the qualifications she needs to go on to do her nursing degree.