Cancer survivor volunteering on COVID frontline during medical school

Medical student, 22, who went to one of London’s worst-performing schools and survived a brain tumour aged 11 reveals he volunteered on the Covid-19 frontline to inspire patients and give them ‘hope’ with his story

  • Kai Newton, 22, from Croydon, London, battled rare brain tumour at 11-years-old
  • He was aided by designer Karen Millen’s charity Teens Unite Fighting Cancer 
  • Working as NHS healthcare assistant and studying to become cancer doctor 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A cancer survivor who battled a rare brain tumour at the age of 11 has revealed why he decided to volunteer on the coronavirus frontline in the hope of inspiring other patients with his story. 

Kai Newton, 22, from Croydon, is currently working as a healthcare assistant and support worker at King’s College Hospital London while he studies to become a children’s oncologist. 

The medical student battled brain cancer at 11 and was aided by designer Karen Millen’s charity Teens Unite Fighting Cancer, which he said ‘gave him a family’ when he was forced to ‘move in’ to the hospital he was being treated. 

He volunteered to work shifts on an understaffed coronavirus ward, and appearing on Good Morning Britain today, he said that he hopes his story can comfort patients who are unable to see friends and family during the pandemic.    

Kai Newton, 22, (pictured) from Croydon, is currently working as a healthcare assistant and support worker at King’s College Hospital London while he studies to become a children’s oncologist 

He volunteered to work shifts on an understaffed coronavirus ward and appearing on Good Morning Britain today told that he hopes his story can comfort coronavirus patients

Kai said that he doesn’t normally work on a Covid ward, but was happy to pitch in when needed.  

‘Essentially I knew the Covid ward was very short-staffed and I felt very bad for these patients,’ he said. 

‘It reminded me of when I was in hospital, but they weren’t allowed to see friends and family, and I imagined if my parents were in that situation, how would I feel? 

‘I thought if I want to be a doctor, this is my dream in life. I have to do this and I jumped straight in.’

Kai, whose memory was affected by his childhood treatment, studied at Hackney University Technical College, one of the worst-performing schools in London, which closed in 2015 because of its poor performance.  

Kai studied at Hackney University Technical College , one of the worst performing schools in London, which closed in 2015 because of it’s poor performance

 He managed to score a place studying biomedical science at the University of Hull where he received first class honours before applying twice to get into medical school

He managed to score a place studying biomedical science at the University of Hull where he received first class honours before applying twice to get into medical school.  

The student said that during his coronavirus shifts he’s been telling patients his story so they know while ‘bad things happen, there’s always a positive outcome’. 

He told:  ‘What I like to tell them is, I want to be an inspiration and let them know bad things happen in life – but there’s always a positive outcome. 

‘When I told them about my story a lot of them are touched, because they never expected it and it gives a glimpse of hope. I say it’s something you never expect and just do what I can to keep them comfortable.’

He went on to insist that he’s ‘so grateful’ for Teens Unite because his cancer affected him ‘ physically, mentally and emotionally’ and the charity was able to give him non-medical support as he battled the disease. 

The medical student battled brain cancer at 11 and was aided by designer Karen Millen’s (pictured right) charity Teens Unite Fighting Cancer

The student told that during his coronavirus shifts he’s been telling patients his story so they know while ‘bad things happen, there’s always a positive outcome’

Kai said: ‘I’m grateful I’m alive today. Cancer is horrible, what it does is suck away your life physically, mentally and emotionally. 

‘I got headaches that were so bad I had to rest it on my shoulder because the pain was too much. I would wake up with blurry vision.

‘Teens Unite has been amazing, what cancer does, as I said, it affects you physically, mentally and emotionally. 

‘But what Teens Unite does is helps in those keys areas. When you first have cancer, you move out of your house and essentially move into your new house, which is your hospital and Teens Unite gives you a family.’ 

Speaking of his place at medical school, he said: ‘I can’t wait. I’m gonna love it. Everything I’ve learned throughout the whole journey has been amazing, everyone at my previous university have supported me so much. ‘ 

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