I was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma when I was 12 years old
The tumour was in my tibia (or shinbone) on my right leg. Being diagnosed with cancer was a life changing experience for me and my family.
Initially, being a keen rugby player at the time, I thought the swelling I noticed could’ve just been a bang in a game. Then after a few months of this odd shape on my leg, we decided to get it seen to.
After a rapid visit to the GP and paediatric specialist, within a week I was having numerous MRI scans and CT scans. The next thing I knew we were having a biopsy and given the diagnosis.
I can vividly remember my dad telling me but despite what you must imagine to be devastating news, with the support of my family and friends it really didn’t get me down at all. We adopted an incredibly positive attitude with the mind set of ‘let’s beat this’.
Doctors made the decision to amputate my leg
As Ewing’s sarcoma is a high-risk cancer – one that is more likely to come back or spread to other parts of the body – doctors made the decision to amputate my leg below the knee. This always seemed the best option because I wanted to leave with my life; leg or no leg. The thought of it reoccurring for the sake of keeping my leg was a risk I wasn’t willing to take.
I needed a six-month course of aggressive chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumour before surgery. After the operation, I was out of hospital four days later.
I needed another high dose of chemotherapy over Christmas, which was the equivalent strength of six doses. This was to destroy any of the remaining cancer cells and stop it from spreading.
People often ask me how I felt during the chemo and surgery, but to be honest. I didn’t really have time to think about what was happening. Everything happened so quickly – you’re just thinking about your next hospital or doctor’s appointment. You don’t have time to think about the bigger picture.
A life-changing experience
I’m so proud and feel gifted that I’ve been able to overcome this devastating disease. Being diagnosed with cancer was a life-changing experience for me and my family. Mum and Dad had to take time off work and my grandparents really helped us out too. But we all pulled together and got through it as a family.
It’s made me who I am today – I wanted to be a pilot when I was younger, but having seen so many medical professionals during my treatment, I wanted to be a part of it. I missed a lot of school, but still achieved good results and I’m now in my third year of medical school.
I may not be able to play rugby anymore, which being a Welshman is a bit of a killer but I play for the Disability Wales sitting volleyball team and have taken part in running events with plenty more to come and I’m looking to take it to the next level.
A positive frame of mind
I recently had a new prosthetic leg fitted that has been designed especially for running. I’ve already completed a 10k with my standard prosthetic leg, but I’ve taken 15 minutes off my time with the new one! I’m looking forward to taking part in the London 10k in May 2012 and running for Children with Cancer UK.
I love what I’m doing and have a positive frame of mind. The world is my oyster and I can do anything I want to do.
People used to ask me how I felt about little things like wearing shorts in public and the looks and stares. Honestly, I embrace it – I’m so proud and feel gifted that I’ve been able to overcome this devastating disease and my only priority now is to take advantage of the chance I’ve been given and take every opportunity I can.
With regards to people’s interest in my leg, I think it’s great. I’d be intrigued if it was me looking on (as I do now; if I see a fellow amputee I’ll always make an effort).
I want to go on and achieve all I can
Even though being diagnosed with cancer was a massive event in my life, I don’t want it to be the making of me. My concern at the moment is that I want to go on and achieve all that I can. Even though being diagnosed with cancer was a massive event in my life I don’t want it to be the making of me.
I still am reaching for the stars.
Proud mum Elishia says: “When Scott was ill, it was devastating, the worst thing you can imagine. There was a time we thought we were going to lose him, he was so ill. It is just remarkable what he has gone on to achieve and we are all really proud of him.”
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