One month before my 3rd birthday I was diagnosed with acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). I don't really remember much of that time, I remember more the remission phase, but my family remembers it all like it was yesterday and this is why my story is as much there’s as it is mine.
I received the most amazing treatment at the Leicester Royal hospital, a treatment that was currently undergoing clinical trials and had a 60% success rate at the time. My family always tell me tales from those two years that I lived in hospital, both good and bad times, times when it looked like I was getting better and other times when the whole family were called in as things took a turn for the worse and times where I made friends and sadly lost a lot of friends to cancer. Two years later after multiple lumbar punctures, blood tests, screaming, mum sleeping on the hospital floor, itchy wigs, when the doctors told me and my parents that I was in remission it must have been music to their ears.
What followed was 5 years of continuous follow ups at the hospital, hair regrowth, blood tests etc. At age 10 I was finally declared out of remission and from there on I had to go for regular heart scans every 2-3 years till I was 23. Today (22/08/2017) was meant to be the last massive milestone in my 20 year journey with ALL. However I was corrected today that they will want to see me every 4 years for heart scans for the rest of my life (by that age I thought I would be too old to abseil).
Even though at present I still suffer from some late endocrine effects of childhood Leukaemia, thanks to the incredible staff at LRH and certain doctors that I shall never forget, I am now back to normal (well, as normal as I'll ever be!!). As a way of even starting to give back, I've decided to do a sponsored abseil and raise a little bit of money for a great cause.
I decided to support this amazing charity, Cure Leukaemia, as not only is it local and supports clinical trials such as the one I was given, it has the most amazing strategy I have seen.
Instead of giving all the fundraised money straight to the big pharma companies and buy drugs direct. Cure Leukaemia hires specialist research nurses in the Midlands who administer the drugs, look after the patients and report back to the drug companies. Therefore the drug companies give these life-saving drugs to the nurses for free in order to test their drugs. This is how every £1 spent employing these wonderful nurses turns into £10 worth of drugs.
On the 30th September in Blood Cancer Awareness Month, I decided to do the UK's highest freefall abseil at 262ft off London's Olympic Park statue. I was absolutely petrified and felt sick every time I thought about it but I kept telling myself, 'if I can beat ALL then I can definitely beat this fear of heights!' It was really scary but the adrenalin rush I felt when I reached the ground was amazing and I was so glad I went through it especially as I have raised £2,000 for Cure Leukaemia towards their £1m Centre Appeal.
Thanks for reading my story,
Watch a video of Abby's abseil below:
Cure Leukaemia's £1m Centre Appeal 2017