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Luciano complained he couldn't walk and had bruising on his legs

Luciano was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was five years old in May 2003. Now in his 20’s, he shares his story to help raise awareness.

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Luciano with his sister as toddlers

Diagnosis and treatment

In 2003 at the age of five, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Having been so young I don’t remember every little detail but a lot of memories have stayed with me and for that I am grateful. Grateful because it has been a part of my journey in making me the person I am today.

The initial symptoms that my parents noticed were bruising all over my body and fatigue. I was constantly complaining I couldn’t walk far because my legs were tired, this then led them to booking an appointment with our local GP. This then eventually lead to my diagnosis on 9 May 2003. My treatment then began shortly after on 12 May 2003.

Treatment began by having intensive chemotherapy to get rid of as many leukaemia cells as possible. During this time, I was staying at the biggest children’s hospital in London so that the doctors could monitor me and also take bone marrow tests to see how I was responding to the treatment. To begin with I was on the Regimen A treatment plan. However, this was changed due to my bone marrow results and I was then placed on Regimen C. I was also given a portacath which I had for the years of my treatment.

Luciano smiling wearing a red stripped tshirt

Time spent in hospital

I was treated in a London children’s hospital where I stayed on the Lion ward, and at another hospital on the Treasure Island ward, both of which I remember so well. The nursing teams were always there to entertain and make my time go by as best as it could. Even to this day my older sister and I recount stories of the nurses who used to play games with us and make us laugh. During my time staying in hospital, I met lots of people and made friends with others on my ward. Two of which stick out to me the most – one of them loved Lego Bionicle’s (a popular toy at the time) and he literally had every single one imaginable in his room, and another who was a bit older than me who loved playing on his PlayStation.

Luciano and sister sittin gon hospital bed with a red costume figure

Life after treatment

Sometime after my treatment finished, I was motivated and determined to try things that I couldn’t do during that time and one of the things I wanted to do was learn Muay Thai – a martial art originating from Thailand. My parents were very apprehensive to say the least, but they let me start training once or twice a week. As I continued attending each week my confidence was growing, my strength was improving, I was feeling much more energetic, and was able to finally express myself. As my love for the sport grew and grew, I then decided to challenge myself even more and decided to begin competing. With that, having cancer was always in the back of my mind and was my driving factor and motivator to prove to myself anything is possible. In doing so I achieved some great things within the sport; becoming a British Champion, European Champion and becoming ranked number one in the UK in my weight category. It also allowed me to travel abroad to Thailand to train and compete. During that time, I also grew to love coaching, and helping others improve their health and fitness. This led me towards becoming a personal trainer.

Luciano in the boxing ring kicking in thailand

I want to give hope to other families

Now at the age of 24, almost 20 years after having first been diagnosed, I am more grateful than ever for my journey so far and all that I have learnt along the way. It has given me an even greater appreciation for life and I do my best each day to live up to that.

The reason behind wanting to share my story is because one thing I didn’t know when I was young but only came to learn as I grew older is the positive effect and hope it gave my parents. Seeing photos and stories of other children who had overcome their own journey with cancer and were now fit and healthy. My aim is to inspire as many children and families as I can through my story and to bring hope into their lives the same way it was brought into my family’s life. My own personal message to all cancer fighters and the families of those affected is to never lose hope in the toughest of times and to always find light in every moment.
Luciano, May 2022

Luciano winner boxing belt.

How you can help

If you’ve been touched by Luciano’s journey, help us invest in the high quality research that really matters which would otherwise go unfunded.

This helps to support children with cancer so they can be with their families for longer.

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Have you or a family member been affected by childhood cancer?

Many of our supporters have been affected by childhood cancer – either through family, friends or their own personal experience. These patient stories can help inspire others to get involved with us, or can support our media work.

If you have a story that you would like to tell, please contact us by email.

 

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