Scott Borley's story, in his own words
“When I was seven I hadn’t been feeling very well, and I got out of breath when I was out shopping with my dad. We went to see our GP who told us to go to our local hospital where after a blood test I found out that I had T cell non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which is a type of cancer.
I was taken to the cancer ward at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, it was called Ward 15. It was scary because it was a new place but I soon settled in.
My tumour was close to my heart so they couldn’t operate on it, so I had chemotherapy for two months to make it smaller. Chemotherapy wasn’t too bad, I got to watch a lot of telly and play X Box games – I even played a game against a consultant - and won! My consultant said that she had never seen a patient respond as well as I had to the treatment.
I would always try to end the day smiling so that I wouldn’t get sad. I would even play pranks on the nurses, like putting a fake snake on the floor next to my bed. My dad said that because of my positivity the nurses put a child who was scared and new in the bed next to mine so that we could talk and play with each other.
I lost my hair at the beginning of my treatment, I just woke up one morning and there was hair on my pillow, it was really weird. A nurse on Ward 15 later shaved it all off for me.
By Autumn I wasn’t on the ward anymore and I would just visit Oncology outpatients every week, then every month, then every two months for my chemotherapy treatment. These were really long days, but there would always be someone from the Play team about to play with me. The Play team also helped to distract me when I was having injections – something I hate. My cousin Aleisha also came along to play with me. Because I wasn’t on the ward any more I got to sleep in my own bed at home and go back to school.
By June 2011 I was better and I was helping my other cousin prepare for her wedding. Suddenly I had these pains at the top of my legs. Because of the pain dad took me to the Emergency Department at Birmingham Children’s Hospital where I was admitted. Five days later, on Friday 1 July, I found out that I had a type of relapse called T lymphoblastic lymphoma with marrow involvement at the relapse. I had to start my treatment straight away.
After a few months of chemotherapy I was told that I would need a bone marrow transplant – I had no idea what it was, but I knew it was important. The search began for a donor and I was very lucky one was found straight away and was a 100% match for me from a kind stranger.
A week before my transplant I had to have radiotherapy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for seven days. I had to have it twice a day, really early in the mornings and in the evenings. I had to sit really still then there was a light that looked like a laser, to help my body prepare for the transplant. You don’t feel anything when it happens. I got to bring my own CD to listen to as a distraction – I listened to Hells Bells by ACDC.
I had my stem cell transplant in December, which meant that I had to spend Christmas at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in isolation. But because my recovery was so good my new consultant allowed me to go to my nan’s for Christmas Day for three hours, where I had lots of presents waiting for me and a huge Christmas dinner! Not a lot of people could visit me because my immune system was so low – I could get sick really easily – so it was just my dad, nan and granddad together at Christmas.
Over the last three years I had missed nearly two years of school, so it was really nice to be back again - but I didn’t miss the homework! I caught up really quickly because the teachers at James Brindley School - based at the hospital - and my home tutor, had made sure I did some school work while I was having my treatment.
In January 2014, I was given the best news of all - the ‘all clear’. As a celebration, two football players from my favourite football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers, came into school to see me and my friends.
I would like to thank everyone who looked after me and made me feel better.”