Ross Long, of Midsomer Norton, was an active 16-year-old who played football three times a week and swam regularly when he was given the shocking news he had non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in July last year.
He had to undergo an operation and months of intensive treatment which meant he had to give up the sports and hobbies he loved. Throughout his illness he was supported by CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people.
Ross, 17, is now in remission from cancer and decided he wanted to give something back the charity by taking part in the Bristol 10K. CLIC Sargent is one of the event’s official charity partners.
Ross, a sixth-form pupil at The Blue School, Wells, said: “It was such a shock when I became ill. You see adverts and things about cancer but you never think it will happen to you. You think it only happens to older people but I was only 16.
“I was devastated at the thought of not being able to play football and compete anymore. But I tried to keep my hopes up all the time and keep thinking about the future and getting back to playing sport and being normal again.
“CLIC Sargent has been there if I’ve had any problems or any questions about my illness or treatment. If something happened I could check that it was supposed to be happening or I could phone up to discuss my options. The nurses would also come to my house so I didn’t need to go all the way to hospital to have my bloods done.
“As soon as I got diagnosed I was introduced to CLIC Sargent nurse Sarah Fey. We got really close and she was a really great support to me throughout. I wanted to be able to give something back to the charity from the beginning.”
As well as signing up to take part in the Bristol 10K Ross is delighted to have returned to playing football.
He said: “In the last couple of months I’ve gone back to football training properly and a few weeks ago I started my first match. It was a pretty happy moment. I’m also back swimming training as well.
“I’ve not done loads of training for the run but I’ve been going to the gym quite a bit and I’ve got my fitness levels back up. I originally aimed to raise £800 but then when I reached that I put it up to £1,100.
“I’d like to do more fundraising after the Bristol 10K. The experience of having cancer has made me not take things for granted. It has calmed me down a bit and made me realise there’s no point worrying about things. It’s made me think more about enjoying life.
“It was hard at the time but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”