Thank you all for your questions, here are a few I have answered.
What would you be doing now had you not had leukaemia?
When I was diagnosed with leukaemia I was studying Accounting and Finance at Sheffield Hallam University. I mean it is hard to tell what I would have been doing but, I reckon if I didn’t get ill I would have carried on with the course that I didn’t love. I hadn’t tried too hard to get a placement so I would have gone straight into my final year. Following University I would have most likely have secured a job in accounting and have carried on sitting my exams. Would I have been happy? I’m sure I would have been earning a decent wage but there is a lot more to life for me than just money. I doubt I would have been happy sitting at a desk for long hours crunching numbers. I am also 99.9% sure I wouldn’t have done an Ironman by this age either.
I want to know what or who inspires you?
This is a very tricky questions, there are a few ‘what and who’s’ that inspire me. As soon as I was out of hospital I had to get fit, I believe one of the main reasons why I survived was due to my fitness and health beforehand. I knew I had to get fit in case the cancer came back. So, I guess cancer is an inspiration as stupid as that sounds. It hasn’t just been an inspiration for me to get fit but to try and get as much out of life as possible.
As cocky as it may come across, I am my biggest inspiration. I have incredible self-belief, I truly think if I dedicate myself to anything it will happen. Why do I think that? I have experienced the lowest of the low and have come out the other side. The only thing stopping you from achieving things is yourself. No one should be able to tell you what you can and cannot do. You know yourself best and if you have the confidence to go out and do it, it will happen.
No one thought it was possible for me to take part in an Ironman in such a short time period, but who were they to tell me I couldn’t?
At the moment I want to not just inspire myself but to inspire others, not only people who have been diagnosed with illnesses but everyone. I was stuck in a university course that I didn’t like because I thought it was what I should do. I mean I picked the course because I thought I would get paid well and because I was good with numbers, instead of picking a course that really meant something to me. I am certain I was not the only one to do this. Too many people live and base their lives on what is expected of them or even what comes easiest to them. Instead they should go after what they want and ultimately deserve, and to do this you have got to have the confidence to defy the ‘norm’.
So to put that answer into short it is basically cancer, myself and you guys.
What is your next event?
What did you learn about yourself from doing the ironman?
You learn lots about yourself during the gruelling months of training for an Ironman, but ultimately you learn that if you dedicate yourself and stick to a plan you will end up doing it. My one bit of advice would be, if you seriously want to achieve something then tell someone about it. Once you have told enough people you will end up doing it. My Ironman came from telling my family and friends ‘I WILL DO IT’. Here I am now, an Ironman.
What three pieces of advice would you give a young person who has just been diagnosed with cancer?
My first bit of advice would be tell your doctor everything, and I mean everything. They are there to help you. If you have an upset stomach or and swollen foot, tell them. 1. It could save your life, 2. They could have some medication that helps and makes you feel a lot better. This leads very well onto my next bit of advice.
Take your medications.
I was on hundreds of pills a day, ok that might be a slight over exaggeration but I was on a hell of a lot. The last thing I wanted to do was put eye drops in 4 times a day. So as the rebel I am, I decided not to. With the first two cycles of chemotherapy I was fine but come the third cycle my eyes had swollen up and I couldn’t see. They were incredible itchy and extremely irritated. I’m not exactly sure what was wrong with them but it was because they got too dry. I can safely say afterwards I put my eye drops in, I mean the only thing I could really do on the ward was watch TV and I didn’t want to sacrifice that for not putting my eye drops in.
My third bit of advice would be to talk. Everyone is there to help you. People enjoy going out of their way to make your life that little bit easier. I bottled far too much of my emotions and thoughts inside my own head instead of talking about them. That little bit of reassurance from someone else could be all that you need.
What was the best part of doing the ironman?
The best part of the Ironman was the end, not because I was absolutely shattered but because everything I had trained for had come true. My amazing family and friends where all there to share this moment with me. They were there in my time of need and they were there to watch me accomplish the impossible. The feeling was overwhelming and I doubt I will ever have another feeling like it.
Obviously this wasn’t the only part of the race I enjoyed but seeing my family and friends supporting me on the course has got to be the best parts. I’m pretty sure every time I saw them my eyes welled up with tears.
Thank you all for your questions, if any of you ever have any more please don’t hesitate to ask! I am happy to talk about everything and anything. I am extremely hard to offend so don’t be worried about upsetting me.