Great to see lots of people supporting the game and the charities.
A huge thank you to all those who helped set up the event with Special shout outs to Jack Fisher; the DJ Hugh Doyle ; photographer Mark James Photography ; Liz & Steve Creighton; Peter Neate; Matt Taylor; Chris Ruane.Pictures of the day are up on our flickr accoun: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA3Xs8 You can still donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/team/harrycricketThank you for your support.
Harry joined Wokingham Cricket Club (WCC) in 2012 as an U12. He progressed through the age groups – was part of the U15 Berkshire champions’ squad – and moved into adult cricket. In 2017 he started at Birmingham University where he joined its cricket club and was a very active member – playing in their 3rd team and being a social secretary in his 2nd year.
In March 2020 aged 21 Harry was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. An initial round of chemotherapy put him into remission. Being diagnosed just before Covid hit meant he only had visitors for the first week of treatment and then this was restricted to just his mum who had to move onto the ward with him. The genetic mutation causing the leukaemia meant that chemotherapy alone would not be an option and that he needed a stem cell transplant. Fortunately, a donor was found by the Anthony Nolan Charity and he had the stem cell transplant in July 2020. The transplant went well, and Harry’s recovery proceeded without any major complications – he even managed to play a little bit of cricket for WCC in the 2021 season.
Unfortunately, Harry relapsed in July 2021. Normally, after relapse within a year of transplant, there is no option for further treatment. However, because of his age and since he had got so close to the year mark he was offered further chemotherapy to hopefully put him back into remission and then another transplant if that was successful. The chance of success was low and if he wasn’t put back into remission, the chemotherapy could shorten the time he had left. However, Harry chose the treatment as to do nothing was choosing to die which was not an option. So, in August 2022 Harry went back into hospital, this time completely on his own, again due to Covid restrictions, not knowing whether he would actually come out again. He spent 5 weeks in isolation, but the good news was that it did put him back into remission. The hunt was then on for another donor – and again the Anthony Nolan Charity found Harry a donor. He had his second stem cell transplant in December and made it out of hospital just in time for Christmas.
Harry is now over 6 months post-transplant, his recovery has been tougher this time round as his body has been through so much over the last 2 ½ years, but at his last bone marrow assessment there was no evidence of disease. Obviously he is very mindful of what happened last year so his confidence in a long-term prognosis is still quite low. As well as raising money for the Anthony Nolan Charity which found both his donors, Harry is also raising funds for Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT). This charity’s aim is to support all teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer through specialist units within hospitals and also specialist support staff.
Anyone who has stayed in hospital for any length of time knows how difficult this can be so the aim of the TCT specialist units is to make them as un-hospital like as possible through colour schemes, kitchens, day rooms with gaming stations. Harry was fortunate to stay on one of these in Birmingham for a while (before Covid hit) and it was a very different experience to being on a normal adult ward, where he ended up having most of his treatment. He has also been supported by a specialist nurse for everything clinical and emotional and a youth support worker for all things social and emotional. Without both of these amazing ladies he really doesn’t know how he would have got through the last 2 ½ years.