My name is Rich and I am all the way from England.
At the age of 27 (in 1992), I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had 6 months of chemotherapy and all appeared well. Then, 5 years later, I received the devastating news that the cancer had returned. My only hope was to have a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant.
I dusted myself down, and somehow got the strength to face what lied ahead for me. I wasn’t brave; I had no choice if I wanted to survive and so it was just a question of getting on with it as best as I could. The treatment was brutal and it took me to the very edge (and probably beyond) what anybody would wish to take. At my lowest point, when I could take the pain no longer, the doctors did not think I would make it through the night. I only found out about this some 15 years or more after my transplant! I knew I was ill but I didn’t realise (at the time) that I was that close to the end. Anyway, I somehow managed to scrape through it and since then, I have been fit well and cancer free.
I am fully aware that cancer continues to take too many precious people from us far too early, but, survival rates are improving all of the time. In the 1970’s only 1 in 4 people with cancer survived, Today, it is 2 in 4 and Cancer Research UK is determined that in the next 20 years, 3 in 4 people who get cancer WILL survive.
Since my illness, I was unfortunately unable to father children of my own, but my partner and I adopted a 17 month old baby boy in 2007 and we could not have been more lucky. We now have a ten year old son who is the most amazing kid in the whole wide world (as all parents would say!). He has given us so much and if I had not had cancer, I would never have had the chance to be his dad and so it is thanks to my illness that I met this amazing, wonderful human being. Proof that with a lot of luck and very good fortune, there can be happiness after a serious illness.
The work that the Young and Brave Foundation is doing is absolutely incredible and I just want to say that it is an honour and absolute privilege to be able to put this short story on the website.
Please, please support the Foundation. It does so much for so many people.
I send my love and best wishes to you all.