A Sheffield Steelers fan talked today about her rare cancer – and the strength and hope she has gained from friends and players at the club.
Student Amy Usher, aged 21, was diagnosed with Liposarcoma – oesophageal cancer – last year.
Despite the incurable nature of the disease, Amy has maintained a happy outlook. “In the same position some people get bitter and hate the world but I don’t. I just think bad stuff does happen but the world is still lovely,” said Amy, of Willow Road, Wath.
“The sad thing is my life will be shorter than most but it makes me remember to make the most of everything. I fill every day spending time with friends and family and doing things I love. I want people to treat me as a normal person – I don’t want to be seen as the girl who is ill. Of course there are days when it hits everyone but I just to get on with it. I don’t dwell on things because if I let myself be ill, people are going to treat me like I’m ill. I still have dreams I want to achieve like doing a skydive for charity, going in a hot air balloon and maybe even visiting Australia.”
Amy has received treatment from Weston Park Hospital’s dedicated teenage unit. The unit, which treats patients aged 16 to 25, receives support from Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.
Amy said: “More awareness needs to be raised about the charity and cancer in general. A lot of people assume it doesn’t happen to my age group. Even doctors think that because at first my GP said I just had a chest infection. But anyone can get it. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to go into my old school so I can give a talk because it is real life and people need to check for warnings.”
On Sunday, to help raise charity funds, Amy’s older sister Beth has signed up to the annual 10k race – ‘Run in the Park’ sponsored by Irwin Mitchell in Graves Park.
Amy said: “My sister has always felt she hasn’t done enough for me through my illness. This isn’t true; I’m so proud of her doing this for both me and the wonderful charity.
“A huge amount of money is needed constantly – for example the upkeep of a radiotherapy machine costs millions but money raised does save lives and I’ve benefited directly from donations.”
Since being diagnosed Amy has become a Steelers fan and has become a ‘little sister’ to the players.
Goalie Frank Doyle dedicated last season’s play-off trophy to Amy and Steelers have promoted sister Beth’s Just Giving page.
“I’m overwhelmed with the support Steelers have given – we originally set a target of £200 – now its up to £3,000. I loved the side straight away after watching my first game and wanted to meet the players. I am now friends with them. I’ve come to realise they aren’t just players, they are people who care.”
Mike O’Connor, the club’s commercial manager said: “We want to help her as much as we can and she is such an incredible girl. Her positivity and how she has dealt with everything is staggering; she is a real inspiration to everyone at the club.”
To also help towards the charity Matthew Wheatcroft from Purpose Media Ltd, a sponsor of the ice hockey club, has pledged to give £10 for every Steelers goal scored and £50 for every shut out.
For more information about Beth’s Just Giving page please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/bethusher/