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How I survived cancer – by Tside reporter Dan Bullock

TSIDE REPORTER-and Multimedia Journalism student Dan Bullock was diagnosed at three with Leukemia and survived defying the odds.

But two of his best friends he met during treatment did not.

Today, as leading cancer journals Annals of Oncology announced that the number of deaths from Leukemia are falling, Dan remembers his fight and wonders – would modern treatment have saved my friends?

DREAMS: Me and my girlfriend after my parents took us to Disney

DREAMS: Me and my girlfriend after my parents took us to Disney

“Leukemia is a form of cancer which occurs in the blood cells and Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, known as A.L.L. It is the most common cancer in young children and it’s also one that I am very familiar with.

“At just three year’s old, I was diagnosed with A.L.L.

“I will never forget the day I was diagnosed. I’d been to gymnastics class, which my grandparents, but because I hadn’t been feeling well Mam turned up too.

“After I didn’t have enough energy to play on my favourite trampoline, she decided that instead of going straight home for tea, she was going to take me to be checked out at hospital. The doctors must have known it was something serious because I was rushed in am ambulance from Hartlepool to Newcastle’s RVI.

“My mam still wells up with tears when she remembers the journey and how I turned to her and said: “It’s okay mummy, I’ll be fine.”

SUFFERING: I sat in my hospital bed reading my favourite comics

SUFFERING: I sat in my hospital bed reading my favourite comics

“But not everything was fine.

“From them on my life was a different one. I was tired and confused. My mates were too – they couldn’t understand why I couldn’t play footie any more, while I had no hair. And I couldn’t explain it.

“But I made new friends. The two I will never forget are Adam and Hattie who I met throughout our treatment on the ward.

“Adam was my best buddy. We played board and computer games. We had little bikes we’d ride in ward -sometimes getting told off my the nurses. We talked across the ward to each other from our beds at night, telling each other stories.

“We were two peas in a pod. But I’m the only one left.

STRUTTING MY STUFF: raising money for Cancer Research UK

STRUTTING MY STUFF: raising money for Cancer Research UK

“Hattie and I took to the stage at Tall Trees Hotel in Yarm, for two nights of catwalk modelling (check out me on the left I’m so cool…)

“It was called a celebration of life after cancer, and still goes on today in local areas.

“A few months down the line we all had a reunion to watch the DVD that was made of the event but Hattie was not there.

Treatment for A.L.L. was originally going to be two years. At the time it was two years for girls and two years for boys with an optional third year.

My mam and dad opted to extend my treatment for the further year and I survived. I will always wonder why I was the lucky one and they didn’t make it.

“The strength of my parents throughout my treatment is something that still amazes me and I know I won’t have seen their faces behind closed doors.

“Mam says she went to church every Sunday and prayed. She thinks that paid off. I don’t know, but if it helped her cope I’m all for it.

It’s been almost 18 years since I was diagnosed on May 14th 1998.

A BRAVE SMILE: Always trying to keep strong

A BRAVE SMILE: Always trying to keep strong

“I know that parents all over the globe with suffering children are still praying every single day for their child to be fine – and that not all of them will be as lucky as I class myself.

“To this day I still try to raise money and help by filling in questionnaires and volunteering for medical research into cancer.

I have filled out numbers of questionnaires for the RVI hospital talking about life after cancer.

My doctor always wondered if I had the abilities to keep up with people in my P.E. class at school, and I proved to him that I did by playing for a number of football teams.

Now, I’m currently fulfilling another dream, learning my trade in Journalism and talking about football.

“All I can do is hope and pray that for all those parents out there that have suffering children is that these statistics are right and finally there is a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.”

You can donate money to Cancer Research UK here and together we can beat Cancer sooner.

 

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