Cancer teen's dream is for history trip

By Martin Johnston

Samantha France is hoping to raise enough money for a school trip to Europe next year. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Samantha France is hoping to raise enough money for a school trip to Europe next year. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Cancer patient Samantha France dreams of going to Europe on a school trip as part of her history studies.

"I love history," said the 16-year-old, of Wattle Downs in South Auckland, who was diagnosed with the blood-system cancer called acute lymphoblastic lymphoma in 2012.

A public fundraising campaign to help pay for Sam's trip has been started on the Givealittle website.

In New Zealand, Sam's illness is diagnosed in about 30 children aged under 15 each year. Treatment cures up to 80 per cent of children with the disease and about 50 per cent of teenagers and young adults.

Sam's mother, Karen France, said the cancer was detected after her daughter's face and neck became swollen. At first a doctor blamed it on "teenage hormones, but when she had a scan they said her lymph nodes were up ... they found a tumour from her heart right up to her neck".

She had chemotherapy and the tumour has now gone, but Sam must continue taking oral anti-cancer medication until January. She is "relatively well" now but still suffers a lot of pain, for which she takes daily medication, and gets very tired.

The trip for three-and-a-half weeks next March and April will take Sam and other Baradene College students to Britain, France and Belgium, with a special focus on war history.

Ms France said the trip would cost nearly $8000, but they hoped to raise $10,000 to have a buffer in case of medical emergency. Any money left over would be given to CanTeen.

- NZ Herald

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