I Remember Being Told I Had Cancer On My Eighth Birthday Like It Was Yesterday

It’s a privilege to be able to say that I have beaten cancer and there are so many people I would like to thank

31/01/2018 08:13 GMT | Updated 01/02/2018 10:07 GMT
Ed Garside

My birthday was just around the corner and I couldn’t wait to celebrate with my friends and family but when it came to it I didn’t feel right. I had red marks on my legs and was extremely tired, I also bruised very easily; I no longer felt excited.

We were all worried, so on the evening of my birthday we decided to go to the hospital - it wasn’t quite how I expected to be spending my big day! Over the next few days I had a number of tests and I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, a form of blood cancer. I was so young, but I remember receiving the news so clearly, I struggled to understand what it meant and I was scared.   

I began treatment straight away and it was intense for about 10 months. I felt ill most of the time and all of my hair fell out. As I was so young, it was hard to explain to people how I felt and what I was going through. My family were incredible though, they were so positive throughout my whole experience and with their support I knew I could beat cancer. The doctors and nurses were also amazing, I felt like I was in safe hands.

It felt like it went on for quite some time. It wasn’t easy; as a kid I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to spend my time at school, watching football, playing football and seeing my friends.

Around three years later my roller coaster journey finally came to an end when my doctor told us I had responded well to treatment and from now on I just needed regular check ups. My parents’ belief had paid off, I had beaten cancer. By this point I was 11 years old and I cannot put into words how happy I felt, it was such a memorable moment. The joy on my family and friends’ faces was amazing and the doctors and nurses that helped me along the way were so pleased too.

It’s a privilege to be able to say that I have beaten cancer and there are so many people I would like to thank. The doctors and nurses at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, I couldn’t have got through this without their help. I’d like to thank my remarkable family for being there for me every step of the way. I would also like to thank my school friends - they have been incredibly supportive.

I would not be here today without the incredible research by organisations including Cancer Research UK that made my treatment possible.

What got me through my whole experience was being around people filled with positivity and for anyone going through cancer right now, I would say, keep positive, because that’s the key to dealing with a difficult situation.   

I am now living a very happy and healthy life, I’m back playing football and will never take for granted the feeling of running on the pitch.

I started sixth form in September and I’m studying ICT, History and Philosophy and Ethics and I am very much looking forward to seeing what lies ahead.

Edward is supporting Cancer Research UK. Get involved on World Cancer Day, Sunday 4 February, and wear a Unity Band to help fund research right now. Visit