Filipa Vance, a woman who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when she was 15, now celebrates 30 years of living post-diagnosis. Filipa is now cancer-free, but lives with many of the experiences and effects of her cancer battle. Now, friends and family have gathered around Filipa, forming a group they call Team Bones 30 in order to raise funds and awareness. Team Bones 30 is an initiative within the larger team for the charity called Team Bones. The team has participated already in a swimming event and has plans for more to come. Keep reading to learn more, or follow the original story here for more information.
What is Osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is a form of bone cancer. It may also be referred to as osteogenic sarcoma. It typically affects bones that grow the most quickly, such as areas near the knee, the upper arm bone, and shinbone. Onset typically occurs during teenage years, during periods of rapid bone growth.
Common symptoms of osteosarcoma include bone pain similar to growing pains, fractures, swelling, redness, and limited movement. Because these symptoms are similar to other more common conditions, it is necessary to perform further tests (blood tests, CT scan, MRI, etc.) to confirm diagnosis.
Like a Duck to Water
Filipa and her son Luis (who is ten years old) are the first members of Team Bones 30 to participate in a fundraising activity for the organization. The pair joined in the Henley Swim, covering a half mile in the water. The event involves swimming upstream in the River Thames and takes place on the Henley royal Regatta course. Together they raised £1,400.
Their time for the course was 25 minutes and ten seconds. This brought them in nine minutes more quickly than Luis’s previous best time. Filipa describes the experience as an emotional and humbling one. She says both she and her son were overjoyed and already planning to return the following year.
Filipa describes her affinity for the water as a way to regain her agency. As a result of osteosarcoma, she has had to accept that her body is different now. There are emotional effects, and she also still receives treatment for a titanium bone prosthesis in her leg that affects her mobility. In the water, however, she says no one can see her scars. She can move normally.
The future of Team Bones is busy. The Henley Swim was only the first of many fundraising events. In the next 12 months, “Team Bones” will be participating in a jumble sale, cake sales, high tea parties, Christmas workshops, and a variety of races including running and swimming. Since the swim, Filipa’s son and his friends have also held a stall at their school’s summer fair. They raised over £100!
So far, the amount they have fundraised to date is already at almost £1,600– and there’s more to come from the school and other cash donations
Filipa intends for “Team Bones” to not only raise money, (which they donate to Bone cancer Research Trust), and spread awareness about osteosarcoma, but also to raise awareness about what life after cancer can look like.