15th June 2012. At the age of 33 my brother, a passive, gentle, kind hearted individual was rushed into the Bexley ward at St James Hospital, Leeds... a diagnosis of Leukaemia was given. That day marked the beginning of shaping me into the person I am today. I am sure my brother would say the same about himself, but for different reasons.
I vividly remember the time I rushed over to the hospital after work to spend some time with my brother. I had just been offered an exciting new job in London but I had already mentally turned the job down and dismissed my dream of living in the big smoke. My brother was a year into treatment by this time, but was really suffering with endless complications. I was super nervous to even mention the job offer to him but I dropped it into conversation, in between “what did they feed you today?” and “what have you been watching on tv?”. He looked at me and said “Anna! GO! Life's too short. I sit here everyday imagining all the things I should have done.” … Four weeks later I was in my car, driving myself and my two suitcases down to London.
Five years on and thankfully my brother has been in remission for the past three years, although his life hasn't ever been quite the same. Even though treatment has stopped, there is still a constant battle with the mental and physical reminders that he once had cancer. He no longer works and is classed as disabled from losing some of his sight during treatment so it’s no surprise that he’s lost his confidence and self-esteem. It has been really tough for him to come to terms with losing his independence - he has had to accept that he won’t be able to do even simple tasks such as driving, which he loved.
The effort, energy and enthusiasm I’ve needed to get through the past few years has now been redirected into living my life to the fullest. I used to see the world in such a negative and angry way, but now I see all the wonderful opportunities it has to offer. I have done crazy things for the charity Bloodwise, including entering my first ever competitive race, turning vegan and running four half marathons in a six month period (my knees still haven't forgiven me!!). I have made a point of travelling lots too - visiting Vegas, Berlin, Lisbon, Australia and Croatia (my purse strings haven't forgiven me either!!). More recently, I have been given the opportunity to run my very first marathon right here in London for Bloodwise (ARGH!).
I am just hoping some of my positive energy rubs off on my brother soon ... it's still a work in progress.
If you fancy donating to help support more wonderful research into blood cancer then you can do that here … https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Anna-Hua2017
(Anna, 29, London)
If you want to share your story like Anna, email firstname.lastname@example.org