Akky with girlfriend Jen
22 year old Akky from Oldham was recently referred to Young Heroes, through his social worker at Christies Hospital in Manchester.
Since his diagnosis back in 2008, Akky has undergone intensive treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) which is a cancer of the white blood cells, the cells in the body that normally fight infections and accounts for about 75 to 80 percent of the childhood and teenage leukemia’s.
Akky is an outgoing young man who like many others his age, loves socialising with friends (whether it be going to the cinema or a night on the town). He also has a passion for music and enjoys watching wrestling.
Months prior to his diagnosis, Akky had begun to complain about persistent pains in his knee’s followed by heavy nose bleeds which had plagued him for years.
Concerned doctors began to run regular blood tests which showed Akky’s white cell counts were extremely low.
It was April 2008 at the Royal Oldham Hospital when he and his family received the devasting news that the 20 year old had Leukemia “I was really upset, shocked and scared when I found out I was ill. I felt I was going to die” says Akky. Equally his family was distraught by the news and left in total shock.
Within days a very brave Akky was transferred to Manchester’s cancer care hospital, Christies. With his family and close friends by his side, he begun his first 5 weeks of intensive chemotherapy. “During my treatment I coped fine because I had such fantastic support from my family and friends, they gave me the strength to get through it”.
Over the next few weeks and months (and an all too familiar story for young people living with cancer) certain friends found Akky’s illness too hard to deal with and unfortunately walked away.
Though he had lost friends, he made many new ones in hospital and even found friendship with a young lady called Jen who is scheduled to have a Young Heroes break next year. The pair hit it off immediately and have been dating since August.
21 year old Jen from Stockport was also receiving treatment at Christies with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
After the chemotherapy Akky was left too sick, too tired and too ill to do all the activities and interests he loved, instead he spent most of his time either attending hospital appointments or being admitted for complications.
Akky admits this last year has left him emotionally drained but says having such a great support network with family and close friends helps tremendously.
Physically, his illness has left him unable to walk for long periods of time and he gets tired easily if out shopping or walking.
Akky now has checkups once a week although says this can vary depending on what stage of treatment he is at or how poorly he is.
Less than 2 weeks ago, his Young Heroes break to Lanzarote had to be cancelled and moved to Spring next year due to another spell in hospital. Disappointed but looking forward to next year Akky says “I am very excited about next years break as I haven’t been away in 3 years and so obviously I was gutted when I had to cancel my long awaited holiday to Lanzarote because of my admittance to hospital”.
He goes onto say “I am looking forward to every part of the holiday especially not having to think about hospitals, treatments and my illness”.
When asked if his Leukemia has changed his outlook on life, Akky says “Yes it has made me look at life in a completely different way. Small irrelevant things don’t matter anymore, live as much as you can and value important things in your life, I also try to tell everyone I care about that I love them all the time”.