I had been having muscle pain in my legs for about a year and the doctors weren't sure what was causing it, but they suspected that I'd hurt myself during exercise.

I'd had a pretty normal Christmas at home with my family, but the leg pains weren't going away. I'd been having regular blood tests over that year and in early January 2018 I was diagnosed as having Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

It was a shock, as I felt perfectly healthy apart from the pains in my legs.

I was told that I would need to start chemotherapy just days later on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. I was in my second year of A Levels and I was quite glad to miss my mocks as I hadn't revised, but I was a bit worried about what was going to happen with my schooling. I was in hospital for all of January so my teachers came in to give me some lessons.

Owen and a friend

I coped okay as the diagnosis hadn't really sunk in. The Teenage Cancer Trust unit is really nice and I was surrounded by people my age which helped. 

Over the next few months I had more chemotherapy, but I was able to just go in for the treatment and then go home again the same day. That made things easier and life felt a bit more normal. 

In June, I had to spend five days in hospital having chemotherapy. While I was in, there was a pizza night and a breakfast morning on the unit and those helped keep my mind off the cancer a bit, which was good as I was depressed when I spent too long thinking about it. I also spent a lot of time revising for my A Level exams and I had to sit one of my exams in the hospital with an inviligator there.

It was a bit surreal doing it in that atmosphere as you wouldn't associate hospital with school exams.

Owen on unit on 18th birthdayI had my stem cell transplant in August and had to spend a month in isolation to avoid getting infections. I wasn't well enough to do anything for the first three weeks but on the last week I was bored and just wanted to go home. I had my 18th birthday while I was in isolation, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I was spoiled with gifts and surrounded by close family. These nurses got me a cake, card and gift which was nice.

I felt really well for a couple of weeks after my stem cell transplant and my family and I went out for a meal to celebrate me being out of hospital. Unfortunately, I got an infection that landed me back in hospital for nine days in September - it knocked me down. 

When I got out, Teenage Cancer Trust's Youth Support Coordinator Sarah texted me to see how I was and it's nice to know she's always there if I need her.

Owen and his brother

My dad ran the Birmingham Half Marathon for Teenage Cancer Trust as a thank you for how they helped me. It was great that he took that on for me and he raised £2700. I had a cold and it was raining so my mum suggested I stay at home to avoid getting further infections.

I felt okay for a while but, unfortunately, test results showed that I didn't have enough stem cells in my bones so I was told that I needed to go back in for a top up in November. I was on the day unit and I didn't need to have radiotherapy, so it was less dramatic than last time.

I'm hoping to be well for Christmas so that I can spend time with my family and friends. After everything that has happened over the last year, it will be nice to be able to relax and celebrate. 

Donate time to support young people with cancer like Owen