'Hi, I’m Sharon, and this year I will be 38. Well I should have been 38…'
People take part in events to raise awareness or funds, but Elle Vuitton from Devon has also chosen to give a voice to her niece Sharon, who lived through childhood abuse and neglect and a diagnosis of autism to die from sarcoma as a young adult in 2012.
With Elle’s permission we are sharing Sharon’s heartbreaking story. We know that very many people are not diagnosed early because the symptoms are not recognised or they are mistaken for another condition, but Sharon’s autism and childhood experiences meant that she didn’t realise she needed help until it was too late.
Elle is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Sarcoma UK. She has written this piece from Sharon’s perspective. It’s a difficult read, but Elle tells us that Sharon would be ‘over the moon’ to know that she has not been forgotten.
"Hi, I’m Sharon, and this year I will be 38. Well I should have been 38 but in 2012 I was told that the pain in my foot that had been troubling me for many months, and the broken arm that just would not mend, were the result of Sarcoma.
As a single mummy, my 2 little boys had to go into foster care because I didn’t have any family to call upon to help, myself a product of foster care. From the age of 6 years old I was brought up by foster mothers after social services finally saved me from my biological parents, who were physically abusing me and my siblings in the worst way possible.
At 6 years old I had very little spoken language and social skills, and although I was then part of the system I did not receive the correct diagnosis for my condition, with everyone believing my poor development was due to the abuse I had suffered as a baby. Sadly, in the early 80’s, autism was practically unheard of, and little was known of the condition that I would continue to suffer from into adulthood.
On 15th January 2012 I turned 30, and 2 months later I was given the news that I had bone Sarcoma and would need Chemotherapy. Even then I wasn’t able to reach out to the foster family members I was still in touch with, I didn’t realise how serious the issue was, and maybe if I am honest I didn’t really understand what the condition was. My foster aunty had kept in touch with me since I was small, but I couldn’t even tell her about my illness. I was too scared.
Eventually knowing I needed help I reached out to my foster family; my mothers, my brother, my sister, my aunty and my grandma. My aunty was due to come and pick me up to take me to her house to care for me and help me through my chemo, I was so happy and pleased that I had called for help, everyone had so much love for me.
But it was too late.
I never got to start my treatment. 2 months after my diagnosis and 2 weeks from reaching out to my foster family I died.
My name was Sharon Claire Samuels, and on 15th January 2020 I would have been 38 years old, and a proud mummy to my 3 children. I am so pleased that my aunty has finally got a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon to run in my memory for Sarcoma UK. This is an amazing charity which invests in research, as well as provides support to sufferers and their families fighting this evil disease, a disease that took my life too soon and left my children without their mummy.
Please can I ask if each of you reading this could spare just £1 to support my Aunty Elle, she's got massive back problems that affect her even walking sometimes, so this is going to be massive for her, but as she has been trying to do this for 'me' for such a long time she's determined nothing will beat her. if every one of her friends (FB acquaintances) give just £1 she will definitely reach her goal... Thank you, Sharon xx"