Abigail

12 February 2017
Abigail as an adult


Abigail is now 19 years old – she was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was two -  and she tells us her story:

“17 years ago I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), I was two and half years old.  Four weeks later, after my first blast of intense chemotherapy, I went into remission.

I then spent three years going through chemotherapy until I had the final all-clear that the cancer cells had gone.

I lost my hair within four weeks of starting treatment and pretty much spent the majority of my childhood in hospital.

Abigail, 3 years oldMany people say to me 'I bet you can't remember it now', but sadly I do remember a lot of it. I still have to visit hospital once a year for check-ups and will have to continue this for the rest of my life.

The treatment and its effects

I trialed a new type of treatment, so the doctors had no idea what my side-effects would be. Luckily I haven't had major side-effects, except from bad joint pain in my legs.

I had to have a port-o-cath inserted which has left a scar on my right breast and at the bottom of my neck which are still visible today.

Sadly this experience has meant I developed a phobia of needles - so even just a simple blood test is a challenge for me and has seen many doctors get kicked in the face!

My hair loss during chemo also scarred me mentally - for many years I wouldn't get my hair cut. For most of my childhood my hair was past my bottom, and basically I looked like Rapunzel! Most of the photos during my illness are of me with no hair or with very short hair.

What I gained from the whole experience

This experience has given me a complete new outlook on life and has made me a fighter.The experience allowed me to meet many wonderful people. There are two cancer survivors (Louis and Caitlin) that I still keep in touch with today. We endured/shared the experiences together.

I also got the opportunity to visit Lapland where I was lucky to see the northern lights. I also had the chance to become a zoo keeper for the day at London Zoo.

My illness also means I developed an amazingly strong and close relationship with my mum, who I must say is my inspiration in life!

This experience has given me a complete new outlook on life and has made me a fighter.

Not everyone is as lucky as me

Abigail dancing at 19 years oldSadly, some people aren't as lucky and lose the battle against cancer  - it is the worst disease imaginable.

To help others I would really appreciate it if you could donate to cancer research as it truly is a great cause, and one day we will win this war against cancer.

I hope my story has given you a little insight into what it is like to be a cancer survivor. Hopefully you have been inspired to really take life by its reins!

I am now studying a BA (HONS) degree to become a professional dancer -  and without the love and support that I got from my family and doctors, I wouldn’t be here to live out my dreams today.

[October 2016]


Read more: Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia | Treatments | Side effects of treatments

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