Sometime in 2013 when I was 16, I noticed my stomach swelling up. At first I thought I was bloated or had put on some weight (even though I wasn’t eating enough to put on weight).
Over the coming weeks my stomach no longer just felt bloated, there were two hard lumpy areas in them. Aside from the occasional cramping, this was my only symptom.
So doing the sensible thing I am I took myself along to my local GP surgery the next month, where to err on the side of caution they gave me a box of Movicol - hoping a hefty dose of laxative would do the trick and my tumours were actually load of poo! Unfortunately not.
What with the waiting lists for NHS ultrasound scans being crazy long, my lovely mum look me for a private scan which pretty much set the ball rolling. From there I spent two weeks in and out of Royal Gwent Hospital, until just before Christmas the doctor told me I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
And from there on I had treatment for almost four months, which included 4 courses of chemotherapy. I stayed in hospital for a large proportion of my treatment, around 10 out of the past 15 weeks, and was treated on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Cardiff.
I was discharged from hospital after my last chemo at the end of March, rested then had my PET scan on 16 April, and found out I was in remission and officially cancer free the next day.
Life after cancer
From there on I wanted to help others thrive and survive during their treatment, raise money for important causes including Teenage Cancer Trust and mainly be any source of help I could.
I set up remissionpossible.org.uk, and a massive part of our vision is providing gift boxes for young people who are newly diagnosed on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Cardiff where I was treated. The boxes contain things like sweets, body care items (moisturiser, lip balm, shower gel), beanies, tea/coffee/hot chocolate, vouchers for online shopping, biscuits, books, films, mugs, headphones, notepads, pens and puzzle books). They’re the kind of things essential for stay in hospital and treats to try and lift the spirits of young people at a hard time.
I’m now studying A-level biology and chemistry and I want to encourage more people to donate bone marrow, blood and even umbilical cord, as well as raise funds for charities like Teenage Cancer Trust.