Leukaemia Teen Repays NHS £150k For His Life-Saving Treatment
The teen was admitted to Sheffield Children's Hospital and underwent chemotherapy that has greatly damaged his immune system, resulting in hair loss, bleeding, bruising and isolation.
In January 2013, doctors were lucky to find a donor for Andrew and performed a bone marrow transplant surgery.
Andrew was kept in isolation within Sheffield Children's Hospital for an agonising 25 days.
He had to take anti-rejection drugs and could only have very limited contact with family and friends.
The surgery went successfully but Andrew had to spend two months recovering at home where he was virtually housebound.
Touched by the care of Professor Vora, a world expert in children's leukaemia, and his team, Andrew was determined to pay back so other young lives could be saved.
Andrew, then 14-year-old, was shocked when he learnt about the cost of the transplant from Julie, his bone marrow transplant specialist nurse.
"About £150,000," was the answer.
He then started to launch fundraising events - including coast-to-coast cycle with his brother James from Liverpool to Skegness and walking the Dales Way.
He achieved the target six years later and the fund will be split evenly between leukaemia research and the Cancer Ward at the Sheffield Children's Hospital.
"Friends and family have ran marathons, held gala balls and raised money in lieu of presents.
"It's been incredible," he said.
He wanted to redevelop the cancer ward and make the hospital a better place for patients and their families.
"I want to fund research on childhood leukaemia so that Professor Vora and others can help more children.
"Research gives hope to patients and their families. It helps find better treatments with fewer side effects and, maybe one day, it will deliver a cure," he wrote on The Guardian in 2015.
The transformed ward at the hospital would create private patient rooms with en-suite facilities, giving patients a place to make their own and space for a parent to sleep comfortably alongside them.
Andrew added: "I was a teenager but I still had a family member stay by my side almost every night I was in hospital."
He continued: "It was really comforting to have that option, even at that age.
"Space for them to stay comfortably by their child on the ward will make a huge difference."
Cheryl Davidson, Community Fundraising Manager added: "Andrew's incredible efforts will make a huge difference to young patients from across the region and as far south as Northampton, who depend on the ward's incredible care."
You can become a donor and help other patients, here's how.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS