Meet 14-year-old Austin-Slade from Portsmouth.

At the age of 9 Austin-Slade joined the Havant and Waterlooville Swimming Club and has since grown into a future Olympic Champion.

“In 2016 Austin-Slade became the number 1 ranking swimmer in Britain for his age group. For someone who hated swimming for the first decade of his life, it is now his number 1 priority, as he’s is now the British Champion in 50m Breaststroke.” With the early 5 am starts and the late evenings Austin-Slade remarkably also studies at UTC in Portsmouth studying Engineering.

Along with the motivation to win each race, Austin-Slade also has the push to show his Mother, Saralouise, proud. In 2015 on Christmas Eve, Saralouise was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

While the family were already going through tough times with Saralouise having Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, they were presented with an equally stressful as Saralouise’s father (Austin-Slade’s Grandfather) collapsed during her last Chemo session.

After many tests, it was found the collapse was brought on from Austin-Slade’s Grandfather having lung cancer.

The pair were incredibly close, having an almost father and son relationship, meaning the news was incredibly hard on Austin-Slade. “He didn’t want to take part in the 1500m swim, he said it was too far and too hard.  However, the news of his Grandfather made him push through to make him proud. He even went on to gain the automatic regional time.” This turned out the be the last race he saw of Austin-Slade’s, before passing away 6 months after his diagnosis.

During 2016 Saralouise was given the all-clear from her doctors and began to learn how to raise a growing swimming star.

Their lives soon took a turn when Saralouise found several lumps on her head and neck, resulting in the cancer returning, spreading to her liver, lungs and bones.

Finding comfort in a close friend from the swimming club, Saralouise was introduced to Wessex Cancer Trust.

Tina and Saralouise were already close friends from their children being part of the same swimming club, and helping as poolside officials. However, the pair have both gone through their own cancer journeys together. A few years previous Tina was diagnosed with anal cancer and a tumour wrapped around a vein in her leg, after seeking support she was signposted to Wessex Cancer Trust for counselling and therapies.

From the help that Tina received from Wessex Cancer Trust she then recommended the Cosham Centre to Saralouise. “The Centre has been there for me from the beginning. When I became too weak to care for myself my Mother moved in to help with Austin-Slade. It all became too much and I just had to get out of the house. I went to the centre and just cried and cried. There was no judgement just a helpful listening ear and a warming cup of tea.”

The Centre has helped Saralouise control her negativity towards cancer as well as supporting her when writing her Will.

“It’s hard to know what the future will hold for Austin-Slade. I just hope he stays the wonderfully motivated, hardworking, kind boy that he currently is.”