Your eleven, twelve years old so maybe it's growing pains. Maybe just the rough and tumble of being a kid. It'll get better. It doesn't. You go to school, listen to metal, love Iron Maiden.
You're on holiday visiting family and the pain gets so bad you visit a doctor. You're thirteen years old now and the doctor says you've got to go home straight away, to see specialists, to have an MRI. Now.
You're in a band, the youngest. You play a Dave Mustaine Flying V. You're thirteen and life in all its glorious array is in front of you. You want to be a rock star in a metal band. Because you know metal and rock are the best.
Then you're sitting in a specialist's office waiting for the results. With your mum, you mum who has hearing loss. Hearing loss so bad she can't hear the words. She can only see her thirteen year old son screaming. Screaming, shouting. Why? She's in tears, you catch her eye and you make a decision. That however tough it is, however painful it is, you don't want to ever see that look on your mum's face again.
You're thirteen years old. And what your mum couldn't hear is you being told you've got bone cancer. Osteosarcoma, and you need to start chemo straight away. September 1st 2016 is day one.
This is Adam's story, a story we learned about after receiving an application for him to see Iron Maiden from a friend of the family. All the work was done through messenger as mum, Susanne, has congenital hearing loss and phone calls aren't an option. There was no hesitation in saying yes but tickets for a band as big as Maiden after they've gone on sale aren't easy to find but we managed to find some for the second London show in May.
Usually we'd wait and do a presentation in person but this time is different and mum was able to tell Adam in hospital as he was going though another round of chemo. After mum had told him Given To Live gave him a call to let him know more about us and find out more about him. What we found out is both the harrowing nature of the treatment and also that Adam wants to raise awareness about bone cancer. He wants us to use the photo of him post op because he wants people to know the truth; not for sympathy but so more research is done, more people understand.
That pain in his leg turned out to be a tumour, that tumour led to him having part of his femur and tibia replaced and connected with what is essentially a hinge to give him movement. He's learning to walk again, currently using a wheelchair but looking to be on his feet again in six weeks. In plenty of time for Maiden.
Iron Maiden have played a huge part in the process of getting him through so far. Some parts of the treatment have been harder than others, none more so than the hypersalivation and mucusitis that meant for two weeks he couldn't eat, lips and the inside of his mouth blistered. Mum can lipread a bit and also has things written down for her. It was during these two weeks that Adam felt like he couldn't go on, couldn't live in this was. It was at this time he wrote to his mum, 'I want to die.'
Timing is everything and Maiden unwittingly timed the release of their tour with the darkest of Adam's dark darkest hours. Timing can be perfect and the thought of somehow getting to see Maiden gave him a reason to live.
Adam has just finished a cycle of chemo and has two more of six to go. Until now each has meant a stay of between a week and two and a half weeks in hospital but hopefully from here it's day visits. In May he'll be at the 02 in London hoping Gangland, his favourite song, gets played.
In November he hopes his band Trichila will be able to release a recording. He plays lead guitar and the chemo's effect of the nerve endings means he's playing a lot slower now. But it's coming back and before long fingers will fly over that Flying V playing the metal he loves.
We're going up to see Adam next month, Darren is ready to start on a poster, tickets are secured for May 28th.
Scream for Adam, London, scream for him, it's the Iron Maiden!!!
For the last year the Foo Fam, a Facebook group with members from all four corners of the globe, has been supporting Given To Live.