Candid With Cancer #8 – My Second Cancer Diagnosis
Thomas Ashley details his battle against AML as part of a new weekly blog
Blood cancer can affect kids from as little as three months old, with four kids diagnosed with a form of blood cancer every single day and is the most common form of cancer amongst children and teenagers.
Whilst the charity currently supports the funding of trials for adults, there is no support currently available for clinical trials aimed at children. This means that children are often subjected to the same harsh treatments that adults currently receive which can often result in gruelling side effects due to the toxicity of the treatments.
However, through the charity’s pioneering Finish-It fundraising campaign, they are proposing to launch the world’s first paediatric clinical trials network aimed at improving the outcomes of children with blood cancer across the UK.
The kits have been funded by Glasgow’s Allan Dickson, who himself will be cycling all 21 stages of the Tour de France later this year as part of a team of 25 amateur cyclists looking to raise over £1million for the charity. Allan’s daughter, Liv, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) back in November 2020 after first suffering discomfort during the first coronavirus lockdown. It wasn’t until the then 12-year-old came down with a fever at school and was sent for a Covid test on November 16 2020 that the real reason behind the pain would be revealed.
The doctor carrying out the test noticed ‘signs’ that a more serious condition could be behind Liv’s symptoms and she was taken to accident and emergency at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to undergo tests. The family were sent home only for Allan to be called hours later. Liv was rushed back to the hospital where she was given the devastating diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Liv is due to complete treatment for her leukaemia this year and hopes to be waiting at the finish line in Paris to give her Dad a big hug.
“Liv Dickson and family are delighted to have been able to provide squad strips for both the girls and boys Scottish Schools Football (SSFA) teams. With the new charity partnership between SSFA and Cure Leukaemia, we have been able to support and promote the £10 million Cure Leukaemia “Finish It” campaign to fund essential trials for paediatric leukaemia across the UK, help to find a cure for childhood leukaemia. We wish Gillian and both squads all the very best for the coming internationals.”
Vice President of the Scottish Schools FA and U15s Girls International Team Coach Gillian Duffy has been through a blood cancer journey of her own after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in June 2018 and received a stem cell transplant in October 2018 from a German donor.
“We, as an association, know that cancer does not discriminate based on what team you play for or support, your age or gender, but from experience we do know how powerful the football family can be in supporting people and their family on their cancer journey. It is with grateful thanks to the Dickson family we are able to highlight this at Schools International level”
Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin commented: “We are truly honoured to be partnering with the Scottish Schools FA and with the fantastic looking kits due to be worn in upcoming matches, we will be able to raise awareness of our FINISH IT campaign and our desire to fund a pioneering new trials network for children, like the inspirational Liv, who are fighting this indiscriminate cancer.”