Events / iSee / News / Outside the Lecture Room / Travel

A friend in need… Is a friend in deed

Friend in need

Ready to give cancer a kick up the b***!

Sometimes life throws unexpected situations your way and you’re forced to make ‘the right decision’…  Well that’s exactly what happened last week when I got news from a friend that he was in hospital fighting cancer… In Milan.

Fresh off the high of elections, I was already struggling to adjust back to reality of student life which my campaign to be Vice President of London College of Communication (LCC) had taken me away from. For 2 weeks I’d put my assignments as second priority – which essentially meant last thing on my mind, and just as I was preparing to tackle them, I got news from my Italian friend and gifted photographer (lets call him Dee to protect his privacy) that he was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

This sort of news couldn’t be brushed off with only a “get well soon” response. I had to decide if I would plan a visit to see him after my uni assignments are due, which would mean visiting at the end of the month, or I would be spontaneous and put life first – book a ticket to Milan even if it’s just for a few days…

Thankfully, being a student hasn’t completely crushed my human instincts, and I chose LIFE! As a mature student, there are certain life experiences I’ve been through which have made me cherish friendship, especially when a friend reaches out.  In the past that has been my downfall – not reaching out to friends when I needed them the most. perhaps fear of being rejected played a part there. So when Dee sent me a message over Facebook with personal news that he had been in hospital for 10 days, I didn’t think twice to book a ticket to see him – no questions asked about the severity of his diagnosis.

This is where my student money-management would be tested. For the price of the airline ticket I figured I can’t eat out for another 2 months or so. But it’s a decision worth making…

I was really to kick cancer in the b***!

I sent my tutors an email explaining my circumstances. I wasn’t expecting 2 days away to affect my deadlines, but I just wanted them to know where I was – emotionally.

IMG_8733When I turned up last week friday during visiting hours at the hospital in Milan Dee is being treated in, I had not idea what to expect – having to get through security bolted doors was the first shock. Was this a hospital or a prison?! I hadn’t dared ask how serious his diagnosis is. Just the word leukemia was enough to frighten me. And I couldn’t imagine what Dee was experiencing. As an acclaimed photographer (you’ve probably seen his work around), he had everything going for him.

I entered his room in protective green gear that make me feel like I was about to perform surgery, his main worry was losing his hair – after all a photographers image is just as important he argued. I was actually pleasantly surprised how healthy he was looking. But then what does someone with leukemia look like?…

The ice was broken as we discussed more casual subjects despite him lying in bed having a blood transfusion (and me trying my hardest to control my nausea seeing a sack off blood handing in my peripheral view).

I left Dee after two and a half hours talking about positive aspects of life to take his mind off the disease he’s fighting. I gave him a Sankofa box (my handmade recycled boxes covered with African print material) and he expressed his gratitude not just for the gift, but for the fact that I’d come all the way from London to see him – just for one day.

If I’ve learnt anything from this experience, it’s the importance to never take life for granted… The purpose of this blog was initially to have a good old moan about how “EFed – Educationally Frustrated” I am! Thankfully, I’m choose to make the most of being a student – even if I refuse to think like one – money should never stop you from doing anything (though scrapping the tuition fees would be a good start!)

As I took off the green protective gear (I actually wanted to keep the mouth mask but thought against it), and placed them in the bin, washed my hands then looked at myself in the mirror – I realised how precious life is. Yes, I’m still a student at 28 when I would rather be in my career and preferably married by now…

But as things show – life has a way of throwing unexpected situations my way.  I’m just grateful to have made the right decision and brought a smile onto the face of a friend in need.

One good deed leads to another… My best friend flew in from Brazil last saturday to visit me – the day I arrived back from Milan!

So who said Karma is a b****? She’s a female with a sharp bite so don’t mess with her! Do good and she’ll reward you! x

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