Meet Dylan, diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, aged 15

Meet Dylan, diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, aged 15

Before I was diagnosed, life was like any normal teenagers’ about to go into year 11. I was focused on mock exams towards the end of year 10, trying to prepare for my GCSE’s. I had also just started a Saturday job in the May of 2017, earning a bit of money and getting some work experience. I was also attending police cadets every week, as well as Explorer Scouts on Mondays too.

 I was a few months away from my 16th birthday when I was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. It all started with intense knee pain in the April of 2017. After going to the GP’s multiple times over the next few months, we went away on a family holiday. My knee pain was so bad whilst on a walk, that my dad had to go get the car to pick me up. On the 9th of August, we went to the GP’s, where they noticed a rash, which we thought was just from camping. After that, me and my mam were sent to North Tees Hospital for blood tests. This is where they told my parents it could be leukaemia. A few hours later, we were transported to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, and spent the night in a private room in A&E. The next morning, I was taken for a Lumbar puncture and Bone Marrow test, after which I was sent to another ward. This is where it sank in for me that I had cancer, as I was wheeled under a sign that said ‘teenage cancer ward’. This was on the 10th of August 2017, a few months after I first started with intense knee pain. For the first few weeks after my diagnosis, I was the one in high spirits, trying to cheer up family and friends, laughing and joking with my consultant. After a few weeks, it did finally sink in, and I ended up speaking to the psychologist on the ward, as it did affect me mentally. 

I went through 3 and a half years of treatment, 8 months of which were intensive treatment, and the rest was maintenance to keep the cancer cells away. The first part consisted of regular, high-dose chemotherapy, which ended up with me being in hospital for 4 and a half weeks due to mucositis- ulcers all throughout my body. During that time, I could not eat/drink or talk and ended up losing a lot of weight and muscle. Most of that time was a blur, as I was on constant morphine and ketamine, due to the amount of pain I was in.
After the intensive part, the treatment got slightly easier, as it was not as intensive chemotherapy. Most of the maintenance part of treatment consisted of taking tablets every day, as well as regular lumbar punctures and steroids.

When I was first diagnosed, it had a massive impact on my life. Due to how ill I was, I had to leave my job after only 4 months. This has made it harder now to search for jobs, as it doesn’t look good to employers that I was only working for such a short period. Being diagnosed also stopped me from going to police cadets, due to being so ill. This was a really hard decision to make, as it was something I loved doing, but I was just too unwell to do it anymore. I also ended up re-doing year 11 at school, as I was too ill to go in. This meant all my friends from secondary school moved on without me, so I ended up losing contact with them. To this day, I still don’t really speak to anyone from before cancer.

I am now over 2 and a half years post-treatment. I am at University in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, studying professional policing, hoping to get into the police within the next few years. In January this year, I did start noticing late effects, mainly issues with my knees, constant fatigue, as well as issues with memory and concentration. These last few months have been a challenge both mentally and physically, as I am figuring out what I can and can't do, as well as frustrating not getting any answers.

I heard about Teens Unite through social media. I kept seeing posts that others had shared, and I thought I would give it a try, so I signed up. I am so glad I did, as a month later, I went on the activity stay, and had such an amazing couple of days. I made some amazing friends for life, who I know will be there for me whenever I need them, as well as making some unforgettable memories doing things I wouldn’t normally do.In my experience, it is important to have access to support from charities like Teens Unite, as it allows young people going through or who have been through cancer to meet others who have been through similar things. 

Personally, I struggled in January when I noticed these late effects, as I had no one I could talk to who got it. Meeting other young people helped me a lot as I had people to talk to who understood what I was feeling. 

Teen Stories

Upcoming Events

Detailed below are our events for Teens, Volunteers, Fundraising and Challenges.


Keep up to date


By providing your email address, you'll be kept up to date with our latest news and events. You can opt out at any time, simply email