Meet Tyler, diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, aged 18

Meet Tyler, diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, aged 18

It was on February 5th when I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, which is an aggressive cancer of the blood.

“Cancer” - that was the only word that I could take in, I didn't even know what the doctor said. I didn't quite know how to feel, I was on my own not knowing how serious this could be. I believe everyone has a fear of just that one word. I mean, you hear about it all the time but you never believe it could be you.

At the age of 18, I thought I had my whole life ahead of me and I felt this was suddenly taken away from me, knowing there was nothing I could do about it. I had only just finished college and was in the process of finding a job and trying to be successful with my life.

Managing and dealing with cancer is a physical, emotional and mental task; it doesn’t surprise me why so many people suffer because of just how awful it is and can be. From being such an athletic young person, to require a shower seat when bathing because the exhaustion from all the medications, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and drugs, it just felt overwhelming and so hard to mentally adapt to that mindset. I felt so worthless as I couldn’t even complete normal daily tasks.

You’re excluded from the world, not having any sense of time, day or any relation to the outside world. It's even worse after you’ve had your treatment and trying to get back into a normal life. It feels so surreal; how is someone who has spent months and years isolated and confined from living supposed to know how to interact and pursue a social life?

Teens Unite are that charity who make all the difference. Being able to ease back into socialising with other people of a similar age and diagnosis to my own makes it so much more comfortable to talk about, knowing other people have got through and survived the same cancer you’ve had. Through Teens Unite, I've been able to meet friends that will last a lifetime.

It’s so hard for young people of this age group to manage whilst having cancer or being in remission from cancer; we’re supposed to be growing up, having fun and enjoying our young teen lives.Teens Unite give these opportunities to young people like me to get out there and partake in activities that you thought you’d never have the opportunity or ability to do.

Teens Unite go even further; they offer opportunities with families as well. It can be just as hard for parents with what their young child is going through and by allowing for activities and events which include parents, it brings everyone together as an even bigger family supporting each other.

Even being just over 3 and half years in remission from cancer at the age of 23, Teens Unite are still able to help me. They have enabled me to focus on living life, knowing that things are achievable even after diagnosis. I honestly can’t thank them enough for what they have done for myself and so many others like me, including their families. 

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