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Ore Oduba sits down with young black cancer patients for Black History Month

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‘I want to be the role model I didn’t have’: Ore Oduba sits down for ‘the most incredible conversation’ with young black cancer patients for Black History Month


Ore Oduba sat down with four young black cancer patients for Black History Month, hailing the discussion ‘the most incredible conversation’.

The presenter, 35, took part in the virtual discussion in partnership with charity Young Lives vs Cancer – of which he is an ambassador – and explained: ‘I want to be the role model I didn’t have back then.’

Ore spent an hour hearing about the experiences of cancer patients, Enkay, Yvonne, Tawanda, and Crystal and shared that the chat ‘really opened my eyes up to some of the challenges that young people going through cancer face on a daily basis’.

Important conversation: Ore Oduba, 35, sat down with four young black cancer patients for Black History Month, hailing the discussion 'the most incredible conversation'

Important conversation: Ore Oduba, 35, sat down with four young black cancer patients for Black History Month, hailing the discussion ‘the most incredible conversation’

Virtual chat: Ore took part in the virtual discussion in partnership with charity Young Lives vs Cancer and explained: 'I want to be the role model I didn't have back then'

Virtual chat: Ore took part in the virtual discussion in partnership with charity Young Lives vs Cancer and explained: ‘I want to be the role model I didn’t have back then’

Ahead of the call, Ore explained: ‘In the last 12 months, so much has happened about visibility. Black Lives Matter was a movement, there was a sea of change.’

He added: ‘I felt like anything that I’ve been through now counts even more because I know there’s a spotlight. There has been a long time it hasn’t been shining and now it’s here.’

Revealing that growing up she felt that a cancer diagnosis had to be ‘dealt with by yourself’, 25-year-old Enkay Rockson-Rapu – who was diagnosed with sarcoma in her foot when she was just 22 – told Ore: ‘Growing up not many people spoke about cancer.’

She continued: ‘It was something that you dealt with by yourself and then you showed everyone you were fine.’

Ore explained: 'In the last 12 months, so much has happened about visibility. Black Lives Matter was a movement, there was a sea of change'

Ore explained: ‘In the last 12 months, so much has happened about visibility. Black Lives Matter was a movement, there was a sea of change’

Enkay said it took three years for her to start sharing her story and hopes it will open up a larger dialogue about cancer within her community.

She added: ‘I’ve noticed that people are really happy to hear about it and they’re happy to see that transparency that I was scared to show.’

Enkay also told Ore how important it had been to meet other young black cancer patients through the charity’s events.

She explained: ‘I was like ”wait, there’s other black people like me?”…When I met other young people I realised that there’s nothing wrong with me, it could just happen.

Difficulties: Revealing that growing up she felt that a cancer diagnosis had to be 'dealt with by yourself', 25-year-old Enkay Rockson-Rapu - who was diagnosed with sarcoma in her foot when she was just 22 - told Ore: 'Growing up not many people spoke about cancer'

Difficulties: Revealing that growing up she felt that a cancer diagnosis had to be ‘dealt with by yourself’, 25-year-old Enkay Rockson-Rapu – who was diagnosed with sarcoma in her foot when she was just 22 – told Ore: ‘Growing up not many people spoke about cancer’

Survivor: Fellow cancer survivor Crystal Marshall (pictured) spoke to Ore about the lack of representation she saw when she was being treated for facial sarcoma aged just 18

Survivor: Fellow cancer survivor Crystal Marshall (pictured) spoke to Ore about the lack of representation she saw when she was being treated for facial sarcoma aged just 18

‘It wasn’t a me thing, it’s just a cancer thing. Cancer doesn’t care if you’re young or old or black or white.’

Fellow cancer survivor Crystal Marshall spoke to Ore about the lack of representation she saw when she was being treated for facial sarcoma aged just 18.

She shared: ‘I already felt isolation because of my facial difference so it was especially hard whenever I looked at commercials or posters and I only saw these young white cancer patients.

Important work: Young Lives vs Cancer provide specialist social workers who help young people to find the strength to face everything cancer throws at them

Important work: Young Lives vs Cancer provide specialist social workers who help young people to find the strength to face everything cancer throws at them

‘I felt even more isolated not seeing black girls.’

Crystal also touched upon the support she received from her Young Lives vs Cancer social worker, who helped her to feel at home while she was having hospital treatment.

‘He was from Jamaica, we would speak about Jamaican food and play some reggae music and it was a bit of home,’ she explained.

Young Lives vs Cancer provide specialist social workers who help young people to find the strength to face everything cancer throws at them.

Ore and his wife Portia have been supporting the Young Lives vs Cancer charity since 2019.

Young Lives vs Cancer is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people and Ora and Portia became ambassadors in February 2021.

Ambassadors: Ore and his wife Portia (pictured) have been supporting the Young Lives vs Cancer charity since 2019 and became ambassadors in February 2021

Ambassadors: Ore and his wife Portia (pictured) have been supporting the Young Lives vs Cancer charity since 2019 and became ambassadors in February 2021

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