Andrew Forbes was 12 when he was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable cancer. Doctors operated on him to remove as much of the tumour as possible without damaging his brain and afterwards he underwent six months of radiotherapy.

“It wasn’t that bad to begin with. All you had to do was lay on a table while they clipped your head so that it wouldn’t move out of the space. About halfway through they did say you would lose your hair. One morning I just woke up and … it just fell out and it was on my pillow. I didn’t mind it. It just made me very unusual.”

Andrew was 13 when he met Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker Sabrina

“Sabrina is basically a mate,” Andrew said. “She’s someone that you trust. You know she is going to be friendly, and if you want to go anywhere she would just take you.”

“The treatment made me really tired. When we went out with Sabrina, we weren’t doing a lot of active things that required a lot of movement but it was really, really fun. It was nice to get away from all the treatment and the hospitals.”

Sabrina helped Andrew feel comfortable talking about his illness at a time when others found it difficult to broach “Back then people didn’t know how to cope with me being so seriously ill. Without Sabrina, I would have been a lot more isolated. It’s kind of given me the confidence to be more open.”

Rainbow Trust drop-in groups

Sabrina introduced Andrew and his sister to drop in groups, which helped them cope better with Andrew’s illness because they saw how others managed. Andrew added “It was just to see how they coped with it … Just to see if they did anything that could help.”

Sabrina provided respite, friendship, advice and fun to all the family and they are extremely grateful for the support Rainbow Trust has given them.