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James’ Story

03 May 2015

James’ Story My name is James McConnell. Back in 2011, when I was 6 years old, 3 weeks before my 7th birthday I was diagnosed with Leukaemia (ALL). My mum and dad took me to Belfast RVH for sick children and I had to stay in hospital to have tests and take medicine. One day, a nurse asked me if I would go up to an older child to show her my central line that was known as Mr Wiggly, where I had my chemo and other medicines. It was because the child was a bit worried and I had to show her there was nothing to worry about. Her family thanked me, and my mum said I was very brave. My mum and dad had to keep an eye on my temperature when I was at home and if it was high it meant I had to go to hospital for about a week. It was hard to leave my home, especially my sister Clara. She was very good to me. The doctors and nurses were very kind and there were play nurses that showed me how to make things. I could colour in and also watch DVDs. I missed out on a lot of school but I caught up on all my work and did my entrance exam last year and got an A. I wasn’t allowed into public places like the swimming pool or cinema. A play nurse organised for my family and I to go to the cinema a few times. It was very strange but great to have the cinema all to ourselves. I have finished my treatment a year now in March, and I am back at school full time and doing all the things I missed out on like swimming, cycling, looking after a calf that I got for my birthday and helping my dad on the farm. I also have medals for completing charity walks for CLIC Sargent. My mum, sister and I did a 10 mile cycle for NICFC while my dad did 60 miles. My family and I also raised some money for the Children’s cancer unit charity. My treatment of 3 years seemed like a long time. I did have my ups and downs, but my family, doctors and nurses were there for me and I thank them all so much.