Leukaemia - Courtney & Cameron's Story

Leukaemia - Courtney &

Cameron's Story

While both being treated for leukaemia in hospital in 2019, Courtney and Cameron built a supportive friendship that helped make their cancer experience easier to face.

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Cameron's Story

Cameron was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in September 2018.

“I was just starting a new job and was on my first day. I just felt I was going to faint, and they sent me home. I knew something wasn’t right and I threw up when I got back to my car in the car park.

“My symptoms were fatigue, swollen gums and the next day there was a blind spot on my left eye. When I was diagnosed, I felt lost and didn’t know what was happening. I did not go home and was there for a month. It was a slow realisation I was going to be in for so long.

“I had four cycles of chemo over five months and in December, I met Courtney who had just been diagnosed. I was on the ward and I saw someone post on Instagram that he was on the same ward - it was in the middle of the night and I messaged back to say I was next door.

“We met the next day and chatted from there. We immediately had so much in common and so much to talk about.

Cameron was told he had no signs of cancer in February 2019.

“But in June, I had chest pains and got a cold - the cancer had come back. I was more upset this time.

“From there, they were talking about a stem cell transplant, and that took place at the end of October 2019 then I was in isolation until December. It was so hard and at times I wanted to stop treatment. In isolation, I found it so boring and lonely and you can’t do anything, or even open the window.

“I didn’t even watch much TV and there are days I cried – it was a horrible time and I wanted to just walk out and go home, but I am so glad I didn’t and I made it through it all.”

Cameron laying upright in his hospital bed in front of Day Zero Balloons smiling.

Cameron’s cancer unfortunately returned shortly after his and Courtney’s film was shown as part of The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off and he spent further time in hospital. 

Cameron very sadly passed away on 26 May 2020. He died peacefully, surrounded by his family. 

“Cameron was loving, kind, full of humour (and cheek), and one of the best kinds of people this world had to offer.” 

Courtney's Story

Courtney had been feeling unwell during the last few months of 2018, but put it down to his busy schedule working internationally as a model and also playing semi-professional football for Coalville Town. “I was feeling so rundown and fatigued but thought it was due to being so hectic.

“My girlfriend Lauren is an intensive care nurse and said I should go to the doctor and we went on the Monday. That night, at 10.30pm, I got a call from the hospital to come in as they had found something irregular.

“They said they wanted to run some tests and please could I come in with a bag. I could see from their expressions straight away that something was not right. They said they thought it was leukaemia and I was shocked but I was not processing it.

“After it was confirmed as leukaemia of ambiguous lineage, which is rare, they said it was treatable but your mind goes to the worst case. And when they said I might not be able to have kids, I got upset, and there were lots of people in the room. There was so much to take in.

“I started chemo and then it got changed to a stronger one – I had side effects like indigestion and thinking I might be losing my eyesight."

In the same month that Courtney was diagnosed, he found out that Lauren was pregnant. After visiting a sperm bank, because he feared the impact chemotherapy would have on his fertility, the news came as a welcome surprise but the couple worried for the health of their baby as it was conceived while he was ill.

They also had to endure periods of separation, including when Courtney was left fighting for his life with a sepsis infection that made it too dangerous for Lauren and their unborn baby to be near him.

“After that, I was lined up to have a bone marrow transplant and my brother Luther was my donor. That took place in May and thankfully had a good recovery and did not pick up any infection and my body accepted the cells well.

Courtney laying in a hospital bed during treatment, topless and resting.

“My daughter Rue was born in August – the timing was unbelievable that I could be there.

“Since then, I have had some issues with “graft versus host” disease as a side effect from the transplant. This gave me a bad rash and is still ongoing and I have needed further treatment for that which is ongoing.

“When I had met Cameron, he had been treated for longer and he helped me so much at first. But then it changed, as his bone marrow transplant came after I had had mine, so I could tell him more about that.

“Meeting Cam has helped me get to here. It is rare to come across someone your age like this.

"It has been a unique friendship in all those little things and how we have helped each other.”

Courtney and Cameron outside a house against a brick wall hugging, wearing Blood Bro's T-shirts together

“Meeting Cam has helped me get to here. It is rare to come across someone your age like this. It has been a unique friendship in all those little things and how we have helped each other.”

Courtney

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