‘People would treat me like a baby and they would sugar-coat things. They used to ask me if I was okay all the time and it made me feel like I was the one who was ill, not my dad. When I needed people the most, I felt so alone.’
When Kayla Laisby’s dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she felt many of those close to her didn’t know how to offer their support.
The 16-year-old from Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria says it was often the ‘elephant in the room’ and she now wants to help others understand how to approach the subject with their friends or relatives.
Her story was broadcast on ITV Granada Reports on Tuesday 25th August.
‘My dad has adenoid cystic carcinoma which affects the main nerves in his face,’ explains Kayla.
‘It’s a really rare form of cancer and treatment is difficult. I was 14-years-old when my dad was diagnosed.
‘It tested my friendships and relationships over the years because of the way each individual dealt with it, or dealt with me.
‘People would treat me differently. They would over-sympathise.
‘I wouldn’t get invited somewhere because they knew that I was having problems at home, but I’d rather go out and do something then sit dwelling on my dad’s illness.’
Kayla hopes her broadcast will encourage young people to discuss the topic openly and without fear.
Helen Adams, Senior Nurse at St Mary’s Hospice, also appears in the film in support of Kayla’s campaign.
‘It can be very difficult for those who are not affected by the illness,’ Helen says.
‘They can feel worried about saying the wrong thing.
‘Listening is the key thing to do.’
Kayla adds: 'I hope me speaking out about this will help prevent other people from feeling like I did.
'I needed somebody to help me back up again. I hope I can help achieve this for other people.'
You can watch Kayla’s TV story here at the top of this page.
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A group from Wrexham want to help others their age recognise
the symptoms of cancer. Watch their TV film.