Callan’s Story


My name is Callan Glass, I am a young adult. Just recently turned 20 years old.

I grew up in South Africa, Cape Town till the age of 17. I then went to an aviation boarding school for my last two years of high school. Just before qualifying from school I got my fixed wing Lights Sports Aircraft pilots license, at the age of 18. My next year I planned on going Super Yachting in France. I managed to do a month’s worth of yachting courses back in Cape Town. In 2014, when the yachting season started I feel really sick and had to stay at home for a few months. In October, as I got started feeling better, I decided to come over to London with my dad for a month’s holiday. I then decided to stay here, to work until the yachting season starts again in April 2015.

Then on the 13th of February, a Friday, I started to feel like I had a cold. My brother and I were supposed to go out clubbing that night. I decided that instead we should go and see a comedy show because comedy is the best medicine. 14th February, I started to feel slightly worse, but my brother and I had planned to go to Madame Tussauds. We still went, and it was so much fun. It was our  birthday present from our mum back in South Africa. We went home at about lunch time and I slept for a couple of hours.


On Tuesday the 17th of February, I had finally received my second proof of address so I quickly went to go register at the local medical centre. They said the paper work takes a week so I could only see a doctor next week Tuesday. For the rest of the week I just slept. I was always out of breath, had really bad palpitations, my vision started to dissipate when I stood up and for longer than a minute, my nose was leaking mucus at the rate of a me using up whole toilet roll a day, sore throat, and cramps in my legs whenever I went to sleep and headaches when I moved around.

On Monday the 23 February, I could not take it anymore, so I made an emergency appointment at the medical centre. The Doctor saw me, and sent me for blood tests at the local hospital. That same night at 10pm I got a call back, to say that I need to go back to the hospital and have some more blood tests taken at A&E. When the nurse saw me at A&E  she said “Wow, I can’t believe how pale you look.”I ended up staying at the hospital overnight. Did not really have a clue what was going on. I decided not to tell any family because I did not want to get anyone worried. On the Tuesday the 24th, I was told that some specialist doctors are going to come over and explain what’s going on. They recommended that I call some family to help digest the news because it will be a lot to take in.

I called my sister, and she came into the ward within half an hour. We were really confused and uncertain of what was going on. I mentioned to her that I had heard someone mention something about to Leukaemia earlier that morning, not really to me but around me. My sister instantly said that I had missed heard and was wrong. Then three haematology doctors came into the ward, sat down and started talking about my blood results. My sister and I started to cry, we instantly thought that they had made a mistake and were in denial. The most painful thought that was going through my head was thinking about telling my parents back in South Africa.

Later that same day at about lunch time, an ambulance was arranged to take my sister and I to University College London Hospital.


Since then I have been an inpatient at UCLH. My brother took a week off work to stay with me at the hospital. It really helped me stay positive with family around. My sister would often come over and bring clothes, gifts and lots of food. As soon as the emergency visa papers came through, my mum flew over from South Africa and has been my carer, she has stayed by my side the whole time. She plans to stay another month and then my dad will come over for a while. I have decided to stay in the UK for treatment because the facilities here are amazing, and it would really feel like my life is on hold if I were to go back to South Africa.

I am nearly finished with my induction phase of treatment. This coming Wednesday 1 April, is my bone marrow test and it will determine what the next step is going to be. The second phase of chemotherapy is supposed to be stronger then this first stage I am currently in. I am nervous and scared for the next stage, but with the help of family and the people around me, like the wonderful nurses, I am sure that I will get through it.