Keata's story

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This website has been created by young people whose brothers or sisters have died. There are multiple stories from young people about their experiences. This is the story of Keata.

Leah was my eldest and only sister. There was only 14 months difference in age between us both. We were very close to each other, more like best friends than sisters. (Yes we did have our occasional fights and arguments like all siblings do.)

We decided to keep Leah's illness to family and close friends, as we felt as though it was a private thing and didn't want to get treated in a 'special' way. I was allowed to tell a couple of my close friends incase they ever wondered why I wasn’t at school or if I wasn’t my usual self. I was sitting at home one day when one of my friends text me saying “Can I ask you a question?” For all I knew the question could’ve been about absolutely anything so I just replied saying yes. Within a couple of minutes, she text me back saying “Is Leah’s cancer terminal?” I remember just sitting there and didn’t know how to respond. So I just left the message and never responded. Another time whilst at school, I walked out of the changing room blocks to go to my PE lesson. One of the girls in my PE lesson was sitting on a metal railing (this girl was not in my friendship group, so she wouldn’t have known anything about Leah’s and her illness) and she shouted across to me whilst I was walking “Keata, your sisters got cancer hasn’t she.”

I just froze on the spot, turned back around, ran to the changing rooms in tears and locked myself in a cubical. I don’t think I would’ve minded if she came up and asked me quietly in person, even though I would’ve lied and said no she hasn’t. But I felt as though it affected me more because she shouted it out so a group of people could hear and she didn’t think about my feelings and how I would react before saying it.

The best memories we had together was every single weekend (when the weather was nice) we would both go along the seafront with each other and go in the arcades, play crazy golf, take stupid photographs and we would just completely forget that Leah had cancer and would live our lives normally. Looking back at the pictures, we both just looked happy, and the pictures of Leah you would look at and wouldn’t think that she was battling with cancer as she just looked so happy and healthy.

If these stories remind you of moments you have experienced, or you want to discuss how you feel you can contact us by emailing hello@siblingsupport.co.uk. If you want to tell your story (you don't have to use your real name) message us - story@siblingsupport.co.uk.