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Date: 12 June 2021

Time: 13:16

Alex Meakin and Yaman Adi

Members' profiles: Alex Meakin and Yaman Adi

Alex Meakin and Yaman Adi are best mates who live life to the full. They are currently studying at the University of Birmingham to fulfil their ambition of working in healthcare.

"I have always wanted to be a paramedic," explains Alex, "so this is great experience for me because I get to see the NHS from both sides; I learn about the care that the patients receive and how they feel being a patient."

Alex first began volunteering at Selly Oak Hospital when he was just 16. After a break to concentrate on his 'A' Level studies he joined the Trust as a member and decided to spend his time helping out on the the Teenage Cancer Trust Young Persons Unit at the Queen Elizabeth hospital.

Determined to make a real difference, Alex brought with him his best friend Yaman who is now in his third year at medical school. Together they spend an afternoon each week playing computer games with the young people on the unit, many of whom are undergoing chemotherapy.

"Most of the patients, just want someone to hang out with; someone to talk to," Yaman explains. "Many of the patients find that their friends distance themselves because they don't know how to cope with the fact they have cancer – that's where we come in. We hang out with the youngsters and if they want to talk we listen. If they don't, we just have fun."

Over the past three years Alex and Yaman have experienced a lot of emotions with the patients. "We have been fortunate to be part of some really special days, like eighteenth birthdays and exam results days," said Alex. "Sadly some patients do pass away, but it is extremely rewarding to know that you helped to make the end easier. The first time somebody I knew died I was quite upset until his parents told me that he had really enjoyed spending time with me and that it had made it easier for them, knowing he had someone his own age to talk to.

"It sounds cheesy, but it's true, being an energy donor is great," says Yaman. "Just putting a smile on one person's face is worth it!"

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