Tala | Levin, Manawatū

“When I was 18, I got super-sick, and wasn’t really one of the best kids out there. I just got a good talking to from my parent’s social workers.

So, when I was 18, I got diagnosed with cancer. Had Leukaemia, and that kind of changed my whole life, that’s what pushed me towards being a youth worker and stuff like that. 

It’s just normal for me now, but it was the last year of school, and I got diagnosed with Leukaemia. It was pretty rough, to be honest. Lost all the muscles in my legs. I couldn’t see, I was blind. Pitch black. Couldn’t walk. So, it’s completely different to what I am now. That’s why I’m just kind of chilling now, living life day by day, too because I was just doing stupid stuff, and was wasting my time because when you’re young, you don’t really think you’re going to get sick tomorrow. So, that’s why I’m just living life day by day, and that’s why I’m trying to get into kids and stuff, don’t waste your life, pretty much.

I have a massive family. My cousins were there, my first cousins, so my dad, his siblings, their children. They were up and down to the hospital, because I was in Palmy at the hospital, and all my family lives in Levin. So, my cousins they’d squeeze up in like a five-seater car, about seven or eight of them. They squashed up, just to come up to the hospital, because I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital for like three to six months. I wasn’t even allowed to leave to go outside the hospital. So, the only way they could see me was if they came to me. One of my close older cousins, he’d just go and pick up everyone and be like, if you want to come, just jump in, I’m going to make room, and then they’d come, and it was just like a normal thing for them, every day. They didn’t really realise how much it meant to me, because I was just in the hospital by myself pretty much every day, and then having those people come in every day made me feel at ease. You have the doctors coming in and there’s just always something like a blood test, blah-blah, but when your family comes in, they just want to come and chill, just talk, they didn’t really care that I was sick. They just wanted to come and we’d play games and stuff like that, and just chat, not even about sickness or anything. It’s just about what am I going to do after this, or when I do come out. That helped a lot.

Human interaction I think is super important, and just being able to know that there’s someone that you can get stuff off your chest with, instead of the typical thing which is just to keep it in. But if everyone does have that someone that they can talk to, I think it would be much better, and help them get through life a lot more.

Heaps of young people these days, they super-overthink. So, I think that’s why heaps of people are always stressed, because they’re thinking about tomorrow or what happened yesterday, but not really focussed on right now. I think just focussing on the right now, what you can make a difference with is right now. You can’t really make a difference on what’s going to happen tomorrow. You’ve just got to fix something right now, and the stuff you do now will later on affect what happens tomorrow. Too many people think of what’s going to happen next, instead of what they can do at this moment right now.”

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