I had heard of Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) before I was diagnosed with cancer. As an avid reader of NME, I would often see the TCT gigs advertised in there and well I thought that was it, teenagers raising money for people with cancer by buying tickets for all these amazing gigs. I did not know then that Teenage Cancer Trust actually does amazing things for teenagers with cancer. Supporting the 7 teenagers that get diagnosed with cancer each day with their specialist research and the units that are created to treat teenagers all over the country. When I was receiving treatment there was not a TCT ward at the Marsden and therefore I was treated alongside toddlers and babies, I never met anyone around my age. However, now there is a great unit that TCT have installed there. I was invited to visit once it had been built and it is amazing. Everyone gets their own room with a spare bed for visitors and a TV that flips down from the ceiling. There’s a common room with games consoles, a pool table and a jukebox where teenagers can be teenagers and socialise with each other.
My first involvement with TCT was when I was invited to a music workshop at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010. Every year TCT hold these great concerts at the Royal Albert Hall for a week. One of these nights is usually a comedy night and I was invited to one in 2010.
Before the gig starts, they invite teenagers and young people from hospitals over the country to a music workshop. Basically, you pick an instrument and with the team there you write some songs together. As a lover of music (and comedy) I jumped at the chance to join in with this! One of my favourite comedians, Noel Fielding was to appear on that night and I was super excited that I would get to see him live for the first time!
The afternoon starts off with going to the stage door of the Royal Albert Hall, walking in and collecting your access all areas lanyard and then taken to a huge room backstage. I was told that I could invite someone to come with me, so I brought my brother, Tom with me. He had to deal with the effects of me having cancer, i.e. less attention from my parents and having to look after himself whilst Mum was at the hospital with me. This was my way of thanking him for being a great little brother!
First of all, we were taken for a tour around the Royal Albert Hall, it was pretty cool to see the seats all empty it really gave you an idea of how big the place is. We were then taken to the music area, where loads of instruments were set up and we were told to go and choose one to play. I opted for a keyboard, with my left hand still a bit wobbly I decided to go with something I already knew how to play. We were given some chords that had been chosen for the song we were about to create and were told to come up with something that would fit in. There were people to help out those who didn’t know how to play the instrument they had picked up, as I already knew how to play the keyboard, I was pretty much left alone.
After a while Tom came over to me and said, “Noel Fielding’s just walked in”, I instantly looked up and scanned to room, but couldn’t see him anywhere. “Where?”, I asked. Tom pointed but I still couldn’t see Noel. Tom then described to me what Noel was wearing I saw someone wearing what Tom had described and said, “that’s not Noel Fielding, that person has blonde hair”. “Wait till his turns round”, said Tom at which point he did and yes it was Noel Fielding! Turned out that he had recently turned his hair blonde. “Oh my god”, I said wondering if I could go over and say hello. I’ve got to go for it, I thought, otherwise I’ll kick myself for not doing so. Me and Tom walked over and I asked Noel if I could have a photo with him. Noel was lovely and was pleased to do so, he stood next to me whilst Tom took a photo of us. Tom gave my phone back to me and walked off, I expected Noel to do so too but he stayed to talk with me. We ended up having the most random conversation, the kind of conversation you would expect to have with Noel Fielding! He said that he like my jumper (see the pic below) and that he thought it was in a French kind of style and then started talking to me about his French Grandma. Next thing I knew he said “Oh look it’s Jimmy, Jimmy come over here and meet Lucy!” I looked up and saw that Jimmy Carr had just entered the room, he came over. I was a bit scared to start off with as I had heard stories of Jimmy being off with people going up to him for an autograph before. Jimmy said “Hi Lucy, I’m Jimmy.” I smiled and said “I know”, as a bit of a joke, because of course I knew who he was! Jimmy had a stern look on his face. I suddenly thought, shit I’ve said something wrong, but luckily Noel stepped in and said “Yeah Lucy knows who you are Jimmy, you’re on the telly!” Jimmy then let out his famous laugh and we all laughed together. Phew! Thanks Noel, I thought! We talked for a while and John (the TCT representative at the Royal Marsden) came over and took a picture of us, “You look like you’re all having fun”, he said. Well I certainly was!!
After we departed from each other, I remember texting Mum to tell her what had just happened. Bless her she was so excited for me!
After the music workshop had finished, me and Tom went to meet Mum & Dad to take our seats for the show and that was brilliant! After the show we got to go backstage again and meet all of the comedians that were on stage that night. They were all lovely and we had group photos together.