A young cancer survivor was given the 'ultimate' experience of a lifetime last week as they visited the Royal Albert Hall as part of a cancer trust's programme. 

Lenie Zeze, now 23, from Sacriston, was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma in November 2022, took a trip to London on Thursday, March, 21 to watch Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds from some of the best seats in the house, as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust's Ultimate Backstage Experience programme. 

From Monday, March 18 until Sunday, March 24 the longstanding fundraising gigs held by the charity saw a week full of entertainment, alongside giving young people who have experienced cancer a VIP trip to remember. 

The Northern Echo: Lenie was treated to an exclusive tour of the Royal Albert Hall

Alongside Teenage Cancer Trust Nurses, Youth Support Coordinators, and other young people also treated in the Northeast, Lenie was treated to an exclusive tour of the iconic venue and dinner backstage.

After finding a lump in the side of her neck during her Medicine degree, Lenie sought help from the GP on her placement, who said to get it checked if it hadn’t disappeared in a week.

Lenie said: “At my appointments, no one seemed too worried, it seemed routine to check things out, so I was reassured. After the few months of scans, blood tests and biopsies they concluded it was a benign tumour and planned for me to have surgery to remove it in October.

“The removal surgery took double the time it was meant to. They said it looked concerning and was bigger than expected so they did more tests on it. They knew it was a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but not what type.

“I was in shock and they said all the medical teams were surprised too. I had no idea if it would be curable or much about it in general. They sent a sample for more tests. A week after, at the start of November, I got told the specific type, Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma. I had four rounds of chemo and immunotherapy.”

Lenie was treated on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle throughout her ordeal.    

Now in recovery, Lenie got the chance to have her moment in the spotlight when she was invited on stage at the Royal Albert Hall alongside peers, to take a selfie with the 5,000 strong crowd who lit their phone torches to show their support for young people with cancer.    

The Northern Echo: Lenie also got to participate in a music workshop

The group also took part in an interactive music workshop and an overnight stay in a central London hotel, before exploring the city the following day.    

Lenie said: “I was lucky enough to share a few words with the crowd on stage to thank everyone for all their donations and share how much of an impact the support Teenage Cancer Trust makes. The support from the crowd was unbelievable and it was such a special moment to experience!”

The Northern Echo: Lenie was invited on stage, alongside peers, to take a selfie with the crowd

Through its annual series of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall, Teenage Cancer Trust has raised over £32 million to fund its specialist units, nurses, and youth support teams across the UK for young people aged 13 to 24.

This year, The Who, The Chemical Brothers and Young Fathers all performed for free to help young people with cancer.    

Kelly Scott, Head of Youth Work and Programmes, Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “Life after cancer can be tough. But for young people at a pivotal stage in life, with school, careers and relationships, it can be hard to navigate and leave them feeling isolated. 

“Special events like the Ultimate Backstage Experience bring young people together to connect, make friends, and simply have fun.”