Wednesday 23rd March 2016

South East

"I had always been active growing up and had enjoyed playing sports all my life; I was used to feeling tired but I started to feel more exhausted than ever around the time of my A level exams. I put it down to studying and stress and was looking forward to a well earned rest once the exams were over. 

I managed to sit through my A levels and jetted off on a celebratory holiday with friends. I didn't feel great on the trip but again I just assumed I was worn out with lack of sleep and needed to take it easy on my return home. I fainted several times on holiday and even collapsed at the airport coming back to England

A week after returning home I was still feeling lethargic, I had a job interview and as was on my way when I collapsed again, this time I couldn't remember anything on waking up. Fortunately I collapsed nearby to my Dad's office so I was taken there so I could get help.

I managed to get an appointment with my doctor straight away and she carried out several tests. My blood test results came back almost immediately showing I had low red blood cells and high white blood cells - a common indicator of cancer. 

I remember the moment my doctor said the word 'cancer'. I was devastated. It's said and heard so often, but to someone being diagnosed it's impossible to process. To hear that word being said to me, about me, was the most frightening experience of my life.

I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in the morning and by 7pm that evening I was an inpatient in the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Sheffield's Hallam Hospital.

I had around 5 months' inpatient treatment and lost my hair twice. Being in hospital away from all your family and friends when you're battling cancer is really hard but I made sure I was positive about getting through my treatment. The staff were incredible, they were always there for me and gave up their time to go above and beyond to support me. The unit really tried to help make my life as normal as possible, it felt as far away from being in hospital as could be but at the same time I was in a specialist unit treating being treated for leukaemia

My Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Coordinator really helped me forget about being in hospital too. As a team they arranged trips out of the unit and treated me like a normal teenager, the support they gave me was invaluable to maintaining my livelihood. One of my favourite memories was going to see Arsenal play, something I would never imagine doing whilst being in hospital!

Earlier this year, after 6 years of treatment, my follow up check-ups finally came to end. I have decided that, now I am strong enough, I want to give something back to say thank you to Teenage Cancer Trust for saving my life. Next month I will mark the end of my treatment by taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of the charity.  I've always wanted to take on challenge of running the Marathon but to do it in the same year I finished treatment feels like an even more important undertaking.

I now work as an Estate Agent in Kensington and Chelsea having completed my degree in Real Estate. I am training hard for the Marathon and am currently up to 19 miles with just four weeks to go until the big day!"

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