Young patient Thomas Ashley has been detailing his blood cancer journey and battle against Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) following his diagnosis aged just fifteen as part of an online blog in association with Cure Leukaemia, and we bring you the latest edition that details his relapse from the disease:

After going through everything, I needed a purpose. I needed a reason to keep going. A reason to why I had done all of that. Something to keep me going and give me meaning to why I am still alive. But also, something to focus on to take my mind away from what was really the problem. I just needed to keep running because that is all I knew. That is how I got through it multiple times before. Run, run and run. Don’t give your time to think and it can’t catch up with you right? But I was wrong.

I thought acting and moving to London was the solution. But I was wrong but I didn’t know this at the time. If anything, it was a catalyst to what was to come. A catalyst to the beginning of another journey for me. One on which I was not ready to face and didn’t know how to. So much I had been hiding away for so long because I didn’t know what it meant but also because I was scared. I was scared I was giving up. I wasn’t mature enough or old enough to experience this yet. I didn’t have the tools to know what I needed to do. And that caused a whole lot of pain for years to come for me. But how was I supposed to know? I thought I was going to be ‘normal’ again. Be who I was supposed to be but it was far from it. And I let myself down.

When I had moved to London in September 2018, after a couple weeks was when I realised something wasn’t right. I didn’t know what it was at the time because I thought, I’m clear, I’m doing what I want. But instead of facing the truth I was running. And from what you’ll read now, I didn’t know what was happening at the time. I was lost and confused and I had no help. I was in pain. A lot of pain.

Why when you work so hard to get where you want to get, go through shit, see shit, all types of shit, but when you get there, you still fill like shit.

I’ve been so positive for 3 years if not more, worked so hard to get here, so why am I feeling like this!

I don’t know how to explain any of it to be honest! It comes to me in bits but then I don’t know how to say it.

In my head it all makes sense and I know what I am saying but I can’t say it aloud or make sense of it aloud.

There is so much more to it, but I don’t even know how to write it.

I am supposed to be happy now but I don’t know why I feel like this. I thought I was out the other side but it is like it was in between diagnosis.

There is so much to it. Worrying, anxiety…

I sometimes think do other people feel like this without what I went through. I don’t want to use what I went through as an excuse because it is not however, I believe everything is a mix of everything and it either has a direct or indirect result. I know that for sure!

It’s my time now! So why can’t it be? Why can’t it all just work out for once!!

I know some of it is moving away from home, starting a new part of my life, routine etc but I know that’s  just not it.

I really want to become an actor but then I keep becoming apprehensive about it. Then worry about stupid things. Then I think ‘what would it be like before everything I went through’. How would I feel if I hadn’t gone through it.

I’m not good at talking to people about my health as I want it all to be normal. I’m shy unless you really know me.

I can’t talk to people! I have written this but don’t think I’ll be able to show anyone. Not anyone I don’t trust yet anyway or who I’m prepared to say to.

Something doesn’t feel right for some reason and I don’t know what it is. I just think to myself sometimes ‘imagine if I could just forget about everything and just travel, be somewhere like Yosemite’.

So much goes through my head constantly, so many thoughts and feelings but they could mean anything. I don’t know what they mean to an extent. You’ll then ask me the question ‘what do they mean?’ And ill reply ‘I don’t know’. It’s just how it feels.

There is nothing to worry about, I just need to write it down and I need to tell someone. Someone I can tell anything to and they can just listen and understand. It’s just been locked up in in me for a while and I tell people but then I have to repeat myself so often to so many people, and realistically they don’t care.

I don’t want anyone to get worried and then start saying go to the doctor! Doctors do fuck all and I can’t talk to them. I just need someone I can vent to once in a while.

Life’s confusing! I don’t know what to expect any more with life. It’s just one long journey which can bring happiness and joy at some points, but sure it makes you feel like shit.

I miss my cat and my parents a lot! A lot more than I expected. I never used to get on with my parents because of everything but they mean the world to me no matter what! So does my family and cat and best friends. I wouldn’t be here without them.

I’ve been through so much shit with them and they have been the best, have been there for me when I need and even through times, I may have felt they didn’t care I know they do.

And I’m scared one day I’ll lose them and everyone else! I’m not scared, I’m just scared for other people. For my cat. Cut I don’t want to go through pain again! It is horrible.

I know I will make it where I want to be one day because of my positivity, hard work, motivation. I just want everyone else to be there.

I don’t want to tell people they will be alright and then a year later find out they have died. It hurts to hear that. Hard to recover from.

Everything is always in the back of my head and I can’t stop that. To be honest I don’t want to stop that, I just wish, they were positive.

Everything makes me who I am! I am unique and I know that. But I have so many flaws, whether good or bad which makes me who I am.

I love my parents so much, I really do. I worry that one day I could just be walking down a street one day and suddenly die. After everything I have been through, it all just comes to an end like that.

I worry that that will happen to my parents, family and friends as well.

There’s so much more to all this but I don’t know how to say I exactly feel. Well, I think there is more but it just might be linking it all together and more bits might come to mind which I find I can write.

I don’t want anyone to worry about me because I promise you, I am fine. I am not going to do anything stupid. I’ve got so much to live for and so much to show people, so much to give back to my loved ones and  much to prove to people.

It’s just some days I know they are going to be bad and today is one of those days. I am going to have many more and I know that. But I’m going to be positive, get through this day and the next day and the day after that. One day at a time.

I just want to one where I want to be sometimes. I question myself ‘why am doing this?’. Why can’t I already be where I want to be?

I can’t wait to show the world who I am, it is just sometimes you get stuck, but it’s how you become unstuck and fix that situation to get where you want get to.

I subconsciously think about a lot of this. Sometimes it just comes through to the forefront of my mind but I’ve learnt from previous experiences, I need to write it down and tell someone.

This is just me.


I was getting worse and worse as the days went on but I still had no idea what was going on. I refused to accept it had anything to do with my past. I didn’t want it to be. I was spiralling and I did nothing about it. I just didn’t know how. I just wanted it to pass. I kept coming up with excuses that it’s just a homesickness or something. But it wasn’t.

Unfortunately, about a month later from when I had written that, I think one of my worst fears came true. My granny died very suddenly from cancer. And that was a stab in the heart. The pain was unimaginable. I had experienced pain before but not like this. My heart was physically aching and I didn’t know how to process it or contemplate it. Just like before, I didn’t want to believe it. And I could only draw on what I knew and that was to get on with it, bottle it up, put it to the back and run. And yes, I was free falling now at this point. No ground in sight.

I sent this message to my Granny on her phone the day she died, even though I knew she wouldn’t get it, I had to. It’s how my brain works.

Hello Granny! I know you’ll never get this message but I want you to, so much. I don’t really know where to start apart from, I miss you so much but love you from the deepest part of my heart! I love you and will always love you so much. It’s only recently that I’ve started to really understand how much people really mean to me and you were one of the most important.

You’ve always been there for me from when I was born to the very last. I’m struggling to come to terms that I’ll never actually be able to talk to you again, I can’t understand that. There’s so much I could say to you right now, but never will. So much I want to tell you! I wish I wasn’t as selfish as I was, I wish I woke up on the days you would leave and say goodbye, I wish I visited more, I wish I could show you the love and care you showed me for all these years, but I fucked up and it’s too late. I wish I did so much more for you and actually showed that I really do care and love you. I’m so sorry. I just want you here now. There’s so much more I could say to you, things I really want to  say to you.

One of your amazing hugs would be amazing right about now. I’m going be lost without you, I truly am. Having that happy message or card and congratulating me on everything meant so much. I really don’t know what I am going to do without it. The happy birthday calls. Nothings ever going to be the same without you. I can’t thank you enough for everything!!! I love you sooo fucking much! And I’m going to miss you so fucking much. I just wish I could see you one last time. I love you granny. You were the best granny ever and most importantly; you were my granny. I love you x


Make that call. Send that letter. Give them that hug. Tell them you love them because time is finite. Whether it be your mum and dad, your grandparents, your brothers and sisters, your partner… just do it. You never know when it could be the last.

Life is short and can change in a heartbeat so hold onto those special moments and cherish the small things in life. Be the best person you can be, so if the time comes when you have to let go, you know and they know, you loved them with no regrets. Cherish what you have and make sure they know. That’s what life is about.

We will be posting weekly editions of Thomas’s blog on our website. Head over to our Candid with Cancer blog to read the full blog