A TEENAGER with just weeks left to live is calling on the people of Portsmouth to help him make a difference to the lives of others before he dies.
Karl Skinner, 19, is fundraising for the charity which provided his family with support that ‘words can’t describe’, following his cancer diagnosis.
At age 16 the Southsea youngster was told he had a rare form of cancer of the abdomen – and in January found out his treatment was no longer working.
Charity CLIC Sargent provided the Skinner family with a social worker who they have described as ‘a godsend’, and arranged for them to visit Disneyland.
Now off chemotherapy, Karl wants to make helping the charity the last thing he does.
Karl, who has so far raised more than £1,000, said: ‘When I found out I was going to die soon it took a couple of weeks to hit me, and it hit me hard, but now I’ve learned to accept it.
‘During my GCSEs in 2015 I was ill, I was sick in an exam at Priory School.
‘I went to the doctor a few times but when I started at Portsmouth College I got really ill, sometimes I couldn’t move.
‘I was diagnosed with a desmoplastic small round cell tumour, it’s a rare type of cancer. I thought I had irritable bowel syndrome.
‘I had chemotherapy for a year-and-a-half and immunotherapy for six months – but in January doctors told me my treatment wasn’t working, and all I could do was have more chemotherapy to prolong the few months I had left.
‘I decided not to because I want to enjoy them. Treatment often immobilised me.’
CLIC Sargent provides emotional and physical support to families of children with cancer – and have supported Karl and his loved ones since the diagnosis.
The teenager, who lives with his mum, sister and two brothers, has smashed his £500 fundraising target – but wants more.
Karl added: ‘I can’t explain how amazing my social worker Kate has been.
‘CLIC Sargent is the reason me and my family were able to visit Disneyland Paris last month. They’ve done everything from arrange day trips for us to bring pizza to me in hospital.
‘There will always be people who need help, and before I die I want to help them, but I need support from people to do that.
‘I’m so thankful for the donations.’
Karl attended Southampton General Hospital for treatment.
He also thanked the hard work of his single mum, 49-year-old Claire Skinner, who said: ‘It’s been tough-going watching Karl suffer, what has happened is the worst thing a parent can think of.
‘But what he’s doing now, and his attitude, is amazing.
‘With the charity it’s about the emotional support more than anything, knowing you’ve got someone to talk to.’
CLIC Sargent social worker Kate Wheeler said: ‘Karl is an amazing young man and it’s been an absolute privilege getting to know him and his family.
‘It’s so generous of him to be thinking about helping us to support others when it’s such a tough time for him.’
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