After being diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anaemia in 2010, my life was put on hold. I missed most of my education in year 7, and in the following years I would miss several days a week for blood transfusions and check-ups. It is therefore quite remarkable what I have achieved in the years that followed.

Life before AA

Before my diagnosis I was a keen sportsman, representing my school in Rugby, Football and Cross-Country. It was quite a shock to the system when I started to feel extremely lethargic when exercising, which ultimately led to my Mum taking me to the Leeds General Infirmary, where it was confirmed, after several days, that I did indeed have Severe  Aplastic Anaemia. Being stuck in a hospital room for months on end for such an active young boy was tough. 

After treatment 

After treatment and leaving hospital, it would have been easy for me to give up and refrain from doing sport again. But, for me, that was never going to be the case. I re-joined my cross-country team at school, bearing in mind I was still on Cyclosporin at the time. It was extremely tough at first. I would often have to walk on our runs, but I wasn’t going to be deterred and kept at it. After a few years, I started competing again in cross-country competitions. Even though I finished near the back, I never stopped running. Progressively, after a couple of years, and with more competitions I entered, I began to get my fitness back which led me to be awarded the most improved runner at the end of the year in 2014. 

After completing my GCSE’s, I decided to stay on at the school and carry on my education in the sixth form, where I took A levels in Politics, Business and Religious Studies. I also decided to carry on in the cross-country team. By this point my fitness was at a good enough level that I was competing and finishing in the top half at inter-school competitions; this ultimately led me to being awarded runners runner at the end of 2015. Just doing cross-country was never going to be enough for me as I loved sport. So, I had to find sports that I enjoyed with minimal physical contact, predominantly due to my low platelet count. The sports I enjoyed  included golf, tennis, badminton and playing five aside with some friends from school for two years, where I opted to play in goal thus  reducing the risk of injury. 

Now back to the present

I am currently in my final year at Nottingham Trent University studying Politics and International Relations. My blood counts are all in the normal range, except my platelets. This year I have decided to enter the 2019 Great North Run, particularly after supporting my Dad who completed the run in 2018 for the AAT Charity. 

I firmly believe that if I can go from being severely ill in 2010 getting tired from simply walking up a flight of stairs,to the present day , where I have a good level of fitness and also looking to graduate from University in a couple months, then nothing is impossible!

Blog by Harry