Summer Smith

Summer was just 18 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. After experiencing unusual bruising and feeling fatigued, she took herself to her GP who did a simple blood test. Here, Summer shares her Spot Leukaemia story.

It was a week or two before my diagnosis that I realised something wasn’t right. I was bruising loads and I wasn’t knocking myself. Two days before the blood test, I was away in London. I was knackered after doing little to nothing, and my skin was yellow. I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t know what.

I pushed myself to see the GP, who did a blood test. The next day, they signed me off work and asked me to drive to Canterbury Hospital. I was also called by 111 that morning at 2am asking if I was okay, but wouldn’t say why. The doctor at the hospital did a huge speech about the blood test and then said, “You have acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.” The first thing I said was, “I am losing my hair.” I felt stressed, and I didn’t get time to let it sink in as my previous employer leaked the news and I spent three days telling family.

I was very sensitive to the chemo. I had kidney failure, neutropenic sepsis, hair loss, bacterial infections, other infections and avascular necrosis. I was diagnosed on 14th March 2017 and I had two and a half years of chemotherapy, starting on 15th March 2017 and ending on 5th August 2019.

At the beginning I donated my hair to the Little Princess Trust. People always assumed I was okay, because my hair grew back, but although I had hair, I still had cancer. I also started a JustGiving page for Teenage Cancer Trust to help them as they were looking after me. I am still raising money, with almost £4000 having been raised on one of my pages.

I am in remission and am happy that I am now one-year cancer-free! However, I am not okay still. I will be on morphine until they okay me for surgery, but as it’s my femurs it’s unlikely that I will be given the okay to have replacements in both legs.

Spot Leukaemia is important as it helps more people see what it can look like. I had no idea, but this is something everyone should know.


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