Gary Lineker discusses son's leukaemia battle
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Now aged 22, Rian missed a lot of time at school in order to undergo chemotherapy and then a life-saving stem cell transplant later when the cancer returned. Since then he has been in remission and gone on to work as a rebuild cost assessor. He also uses his story to raise awareness of the condition, as well as calling for more understanding when it comes to recovery.
Speaking at a recent Macmillan panel event, he said: “I spent five years not talking about it but now I won’t shut up about it and basically I’m here to hopefully help other people as well.”
He explained how the toughest point of his journey was after school, when his treatment was over.
“I was struggling really bad,” he said.
“I had a transplant and I thought I could get into sixth form – didn’t.
“I had to drop back a year, which for anyone dropping back a year is difficult.
“I probably made up for lost time as a teenager and probably messed around a bit more than I should.
“Basically went through a bit of a difficult period where I was really thinking about the cancer a lot at the time.
“I was mentally struggling. It was having an impact on my school work.”
One memory in particular has stuck with Rian.
He added: “I wasn’t present for this conversation but this conversation was relayed to me by my support worker from the ward.
“She actually put the phone down on my teacher, she was fuming at what she had said.
“The teacher said something along the lines of ‘well he’s better now’.
“My support worker apparently lost it on the phone and was trying to explain and she wasn’t listening and just put the phone down on her.
“That’s the big thing for me. It’s like because I had leukaemia and I had treatment and I was away from everything – I was so young as well. I was always in the cancer world.
“It’s been the after stuff. It’s the ‘well he’s better now’.
“Yeah you can say that physically he’s doing OK but he has just had cancer. It’s so wrong, it’s like you’ve had a cold.”
He encouraged others to talk about their condition as much as they could.
He said: “After I finished treatment, I had a guy message me from the school and he said ‘what were your symptoms of leukaemia?’
“I told him, he went and got checked and he had it as well. He comes back to town sometimes and when I see him it’s almost like seeing a sibling.”
Acute myeloid leukaemia is a type of blood cancer that starts from young white blood cells called granulocytes or monocytes in the bone marrow.
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