I was diagnosed just over a year ago with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at the age of 20. After a bout of tonsillitis, I noticed I was feeling constantly tired and not right in myself for about 3 months. I couldn't understand why I was so tired, when I was relatively fit and active. The day the doctor discovered the cancer, he told me that if they had caught it just 3 days later then there was a chance I would have had a stroke or died. It was really frightening.
When I was told about my cancer I felt really upset as I was just about to join the Army. However I told myself, no matter what, this wouldn't beat me. I kept reassuring myself that cancer can't kill me and I am going out on my own terms.
My treatment has so far consisted of chemotherapy, full body irradiation and a bone marrow transplant, which I had last August. I had Graft-Versus-Host disease afterwards, which is quite common after a transplant and means the donor cells had reacted against my own skin. I also had really dry skin and fatigue throughout.
I was treated on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Royal Marsden, which was lovely and had everything I needed. My Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Coordinator offered me so much help, and still helps me now.
During treatment I wrote music to help pass the time and I also looked into how I could help people in my position. My taekwondo team and I raised £5000 to build the Royal Surrey Hospital an iPad library for the kids and teenagers to enjoy whilst on treatment.
Life after cancer
Having cancer tested my relationship with my girlfriend but it has ultimately made us stronger. I would say to others having treatment that they should find time to do what they want to do, no matter what it is. If you have ever wanted to do something but were afraid, now is the time to prove to yourselves and others what fantastic things you are capable of.
I am planning to fundraise for Teenage Cancer Trust this year. I have since run a half marathon, taken part in a Spartan Race and climbed Mount Ben Nevis. I have also spoken at fundraising events for Teenage Cancer Trust as a young ambassador.
I'm currently working at my father's building company and starting my degree at University of Southampton Solent this year to study Construction Management and Quantity Surveying.