At the age of 15, Imogen’s life was turned upside down when what she and her parents thought was a lingering rowing injury ended up being stage 4 osteosarcoma – a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer.
After the diagnosis, Imogen immediately started eight months of chemotherapy. Part way through her treatment, she underwent a lengthy orthopaedic surgery to replace her knee and most of her femur with a titanium rod.
“My greatest challenge was that I had to learn to walk again and that my leg remains weaker and less stable than the other,” Imogen said.
Today, Imogen, now 17, is doing well and is in remission. As part of her ongoing care, Imogen has regular three-month check-ups with her oncologist.
Despite her challenges, Imogen graduated year 12 with the rest of her cohort in 2018 and is excited about the future. She is about to move out to the Gatton campus of the University of Queensland to study wildlife science.
The biggest message Imogen wants to give to other young people facing cancer is to not give up.
“The journey will be hard – there’s no denying that – but look for happiness, look to your family and friends, and don’t focus on the negatives, but also, it’s ok to cry.
“Cancer journeys are never easy, but it ended up being a journey of transformation – I know myself really well now and am a better person.”
Imogen now helps other young people with cancer as a member of the Queensland Youth Cancer Service’s Youth Advisory Group.