Teen's uncertain future makes tribute close to heart

SHINE ON: Sharon Liddell hugs her daughter Shaye after listening to the poem that she wrote about their family’s cancer.
SHINE ON: Sharon Liddell hugs her daughter Shaye after listening to the poem that she wrote about their family’s cancer. Zach Hogg BUNLID

A 13-YEAR-OLD girl whose entire family has been repeatedly touched by cancer has given a moving tribute to those with the disease, despite having an uncertain health future herself.

Shaye Liddell wrote a poem to honour not only her mother and grandmother who both have cancer, but also to remember her good friend Sonia Hughes, who died earlier this year from cancer.

Shaye participated in the Relay for Life at the weekend and read her poem to the emotional crowd.

As a cancer fighter, Shaye's mother Sharon Liddell believes her daughter is an inspiration.

"I remember the night Shaye wrote the poem," Ms Liddell said.

"I was rousing at her to turn her light off as it was late at night, she gave me the poem and left, only to return with a box of tissues moments later and she was right, I needed them.

"I found out I had cancer in 2010, but kept it from everyone.

"Then in 2012 it returned, so I had a double mastectomy last year and a hysterectomy earlier this year."

Two of the family's generations have all been touched with cancer by the genetic gene known as the BRCA 2 gene, which is hereditary and causes breast and ovarian cancers in females and can cause breast and prostate cancer in males.

Shaye's grandmother, mother and aunt all carry the gene, but Shaye will not be able to be tested until she turns 18.

Shaye said that she understands she is likely to get cancer and takes it in her stride.

"I know it's coming, it won't change much anyway," Shaye said.

"Cancer is part of my life and always has been.

"I wrote the poem because we were asked to write about something that is close to our heart and this subject is."

Proud family friend Tracey Johnson said Shaye was an incredible young lady who not only had the crowd moved by her poem at the weekend, but raised the most money for the Striding High team which was in honour of Sonia Hughes.

"Sonia was close to Shaye and the poem says it all," Miss Johnson said.

"Shaye is an inspiration for generations to come."

The family is still able to smile, knowing they have the knowledge of what may come and will be there to support each other, no matter what the future brings.

"We try to look at the lighter side of things in our situation," Ms Liddell said.

"I mean I had a double mastectomy, because if you don't have boobs, you don't have boob cancer."

Topics:  cancer health relay for life

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