Komorebi Post– “Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with Cancer”, according to Cancer Research UK. Being diagnosed with any disease can be devastating, putting strains on relationships, friendships and future finances. Discussing cancer is difficult for some people, especially if they face house bounding conditions, whether a disability, severe depression or anxiety.  YouTube and other forms of social media allow Vloggers to share their stories without leaving their rooms. This video material on YouTube has helped to bring together the understanding of the emotional impact cancer has. This subject is often seen as taboo to the forefront, whether people believe that talking will make the situation worse or it might seem insensitive. However, it is essential that sensitive topics, like cancer, are discussed, whether through a YouTube video, attending a cancer group, or talking to a family or friend.

How somebody chooses to face cancer is their own personal choice, but it’s important that there are resources available for those who need it. PeeweeToms’ videos have connected people who are struggling to get to grips with cancer and raised awareness on cancer- the videos advocate to always check if something doesn’t seem right, whether this is something as small as a lump.

The PeeWeeToms Effect

The  real name is Daniel Thomas, 32 years old, from Dudley in the West Midlands. He was working in computer software job, living a normal life when he visited the doctor after noticing something was wrong. He was told that everything was normal, but later down the line, found out that he had been mis-diagnosed and was living with a rare form of cancer called Sarcomatoid Carcinoma. This is something he described as “a mixture of cancers all in one.” However, by the time he found out the news, the cancer was too far gone and it was classed as terminal.

The weekly Vlogs PeeWeeToms released allowed around 173 thousand subscribers, to follow each stage of his cancer journey, whether they had or hadn’t experienced a loved one, or a friend, diagnosed with cancer. Each stage was charted and shown from his point of view. The videos start from the beginning when he received his cancer diagnosis, until he was bedridden in the hospital.

What was interesting when watching PeeWeeToms was his optimism. YouTube was a place where he could spread the message that living a normal life. Instead of seeing a man facing a tough day as common side effects of chemotherapy, most of the videos reflected a positive attitude whether it was going for treatment, spending time with family, or getting married weeks before he passed away. The connections Dan made with other YouTubers, to furthermore raise much needed awareness about cancer. For instance, the issue isn’t covered In UK schools, until it’s too late and a child is only a matter of weeks away from losing a parent. By then a child may already know that something is wrong and can feel lost and confused. At present, teachers and assistants are given very little guidance, which feels more like a script they should say to a child, and a very short visit from a cancer organisation. Videos, such as PeeWeeToms’ touch on each stage of a cancer journey, showing the effects it has on the whole family, including his younger nephew.

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