In February 2012, I (Luke) was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. I was told in order to have a complete cure I would need a stem cell/bone marrow transplant. I completed three cycles of chemotherapy and, in July 2012 after another horrible session of chemotherapy and full body radiotherapy, my twin sister donated 6,000,000 stem cells which grafted nine days later. I gradually became stronger and stronger and then one year later, in July 2013, I was told I was still in full remission.
During my first cycle of chemo, I unfortunately had a number of complications due to the side effects and was bed bound for a couple of weeks. One day I woke to find my mum and sister looking rather pleased with themselves, I asked what was going on but with a twinkle in their eyes they would not say. Without any warning, I found myself face to face with old friends from Clifton College, they had flown out to visit me for 48 hours.
During their visit, I was only allowed one visitor at a time and so when they weren’t in the room with me the guys would have to wait in what was called the "family room". It was supposed to be a comfortable room with a TV, a DVD player and some sofas where family and friends could go and relax. Unfortunately this was not the case, a couple of well used medical chairs and a broken television was all that the room could offer.
When I returned to England, one of my Clifton friends explained that he and the others wanted to improve the family room and raise some money for a leukaemia charity. The idea would be to travel from King's College Hospital in London, where I am currently being observed, to Varese Hospital (near Milan) in Italy, where I had my first three cycles of chemo and where the guys visited me.
Words cannot describe the support the ‘Handsome But Rowdy Team’ has given me and I hope this journey will be able to offer some comfort to the families going through the same ordeal that my family and friends have been through.
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