A 17-YEAR-OLD girl has put together her own funeral playlist after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Eden Lewis says she knows she has borrowed time but refuses to sit and wait for death – insisting that life is for living.
Her feel-good motto has led to her breaking her GCSEs and going to prom with a police escort.
On June 21, she even joined her idol, Harry Styles, at a concert at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
Two of his songs are on the list of tunes she wants to play after her death.
Eden said: “I listen to Harry’s solo music all day long.
“His songs ‘Sign of the Times’ and ‘As It Was’ speak to me very much and are part of my funeral playlist I’m putting together.
“So many lines in Harry’s songs help me with how I feel on this journey with cancer and when I need to leave this world.”
Their mum Tess said they had an “absolutely amazing” evening at the gig, with hours of singing and dancing in their seats.
“Eden couldn’t stand just to get from her wheelchair to her seat, but we loved it,” she added.
“We shed a few tears during Matilda, Satellites and Sign of the Times, which are on Eden’s funeral playlist.
“It was wonderful for me to see Eden be Eden again.
“We had a bite to eat at a Japanese restaurant beforehand and strolled around Cardiff to look at clothes and make-up together.
“We were just being ourselves — laughing and joking and forgetting about cancer and palliative care for one night.”
In June 2020, Eden was diagnosed with bone cancer.
That year she underwent grueling chemotherapy and had surgery to remove a 13 cm tumor from her right thigh.
She subsequently required a metal prosthesis and a knee replacement, but after a brief remission, the cancer returned.
She has now been diagnosed with osteosarcoma and the cancer has spread to her lungs.
Her dying wish is to get her first kiss like any normal teenage girl after illness has robbed her of her carefree years.
“I miss so much”
Eden, who studies animal care at college, said, “While I was in the hospital and missing school, it felt like my friends had grown up and moved on in life without me.”
“They had boyfriends and girlfriends while I had blood tests and toxic chemicals.
“They threw parties while I was throwing up. I wasn’t myself anymore, I was a new me, mentally and physically.”
“Even now I am constantly exhausted and in pain 24/7. I miss so much.”
But she added, “If Harry wanted to be my first kiss, I wouldn’t say no!”
As of April 2022, Eden has been on medication to prolong her life, but the teenager knows she’s taking her time.
She lives in Oakdale, Caerphilly, South Wales with her mother Tess, 39, stepfather Cameron, 39, and younger siblings Logan, six, and two-year-old Faora.
Tess said: “In 2022, Eden was declared incurable. We were devastated but she made us so proud with her attitude.”
“She says life is for living, not for waiting for death.”
“In March 2022, Eden had 40 percent of her left lung removed and she did her GCSEs.
“She got five Cs and five Bs and even went to her prom with a police escort.
“Eden has been on a trial drug called cabozantinib since April of last year, which has kept her stable with very little growth.
“One day this drug will stop working and until then we want to use the time to do as much as we can before she dies.”
“We try to do as many days and trips as possible.”
What is blood cancer and what are the symptoms?
The term blood cancer describes many different types of cancer affecting your blood cells, bone marrow or lymphatic system.
The most common diseases include leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
They each have different symptoms, treatments, and prognosis.
But broadly speaking, some of the most commonly reported signs include:
- Weight loss that is unexplained
- Bruising or bleeding that is unexplained
- lumps or swellings
- shortness of breath (breathlessness)
- Damp night sweats
- Persistent, recurring, or severe infections
- Fever (38°C or more) that is unexplained
- Unexplained rash or itchy skin
- pain in your bones, joints or abdomen (stomach area)
- tiredness not relieved by rest or sleep (fatigue)
- pallor (pallor)
Treatments may include “watch and wait”, chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, immunotherapy, targeted therapies, radiation therapy, surgery and clinical trials.
Overall, the five-year survival rate for blood cancer is about 70 percent.
That means that someone diagnosed with the disease is only 70 percent more likely to be alive five years from now than someone their age who doesn’t have it.
In the UK, more than 41,000 people are diagnosed with blood cancer each year. About 16,000 die.
Source: Blood Cancer UK