Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
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A teenager who felt tired after returning to school following his busy summer holidays has been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer.
Jacob Crane’s parents thought he had just been “burning the candle at both ends” during the break but, when the 16-year-old boy stopped playing his beloved rugby and developed a sore throat, his parents grew concerned.
Mr Crane said: “I put it down to the fact he had been up and burning the candle at both ends during the school holidays and that his body clock was getting back to getting into school. I left him to sleep. It was his 16th birthday on Sunday, September 11, and he even played rugby, but he wasn’t right.
“The next week his throat was sore, can fluconazole cause insomnia and we took him to the doctors on the Wednesday and they wanted to do some more checks. We received a phone call that they had found irregularities in his blood, so they took us up to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.”
And there, Jacob was diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia, a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells.
Speaking to Wales Online, Mr Crane said: “It turned our world upside down. It is such an emotional and upsetting time. For the first two weeks, it was hard to correspond with anyone other than by text, you couldn’t hold a conversation, it was so upsetting, then you get through that and into survival mode.
“Jacob has been a leader with that, he has been as strong as an ox. He is just getting on with things, and we’re hoping for some good news when they look at his bone marrow again before they start the second lot of chemotherapy in the next couple of weeks.
“He has to undergo six months of intense treatment, and then they will look to rectify the problem. The white blood cell count has been far too high, and that is stopping all the other agents in the blood from producing. He has got age on his side. He’s better off being 16 than 60. It has come as such a bolt out of the blue. You can’t get your head around it. I still can’t get my head around it now, it’s just one of those things. The first week or two you’re feeling in shock, but now we have to get over that and figure out what we need to do day to day to get through the six-month period and hope everything works out.”
It turned our world upside down. It is such an emotional and upsetting time
Stephen Crane, Jacob’s father
Jacob, from Swansea, South Wales, has received immense support from those around him since the diagnosis.
Eighty of Stephen Crane’s friends walked from Mumbles Pier to Morriston Rugby Club, which Mr Crane himself used to play for and captain.
Fifteen of those who took part had their hair shaved in solidarity with Jacob.
Mr Crane said: “All of his friends are fantastic and there’s been so many people in contact from various football clubs, rugby clubs, and cricket clubs. He’s had messages from the likes of Chelsea Football Club – he’s a big Chelsea supporter, and Swansea City have been in contact, various messages of support from sportsmen.
“We did a sponsored walk with the boys and they all rallied around. It just goes to show, there’s a lot of doom and gloom around but the community spirit around Jacob’s diagnosis has made me realise there’s still a lot of good people around. It’s gobsmacking, people just wanted to help. The ward that is treating Jacob, the Teenage Cancer Trust, they have been absolutely fantastic. There’s also the Ronald McDonald charity which has a hotel on the hospital site which allows me to stay there pretty much for free just so I’m always close, which has taken away a massive burden having to travel back and forth from Swansea every day, because if he needs me I’m only a phone call away across the road. I’d like to say a big thank you to both of them.”
On Saturday, November 12, Vardre RFC under 16s will present the ‘Bald for Bucks’ event in support of Jacob, where they will take on Llangwym under 16s from 2pm, followed by a sponsored headshave, raffle, auction and live music. If you would like to contribute towards Jacob’s GoFundMe page, you can do so by clicking here.
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