Devoted reader bravely beats can­cer – and wins top prize

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - Exclusive -

The teenager whiled away the hours in hos­pi­tal by rac­ing through his favourite reads, such as the Skul­dug­gery Pleas­ant fan­tasy se­ries.

“My favourite ones are based on Marvel char­ac­ters. Iron Man is just b r i l l i a n t ,” said the bright young­ster.

“I spent time por­ing over the plots, won­der­ing how I could write sto­ry­lines like this my­self.

“I read ev­ery Harry Pot­ter book, some twice, and then moved on to Thomas Hardy nov­els.

“The books stopped me think­ing about the chemo, which was mak­ing me feel sick and very tired.

“I have to be hon­est, I never thought I would die. “I knew I would sur­vive.” The el­dest of five boys, De­clan’s can­cer re­turned and he had to un­dergo a stem cell trans­plant from an un­known donor in Jan­uary.

The treat­ment l ow­ered

his im­mune sys­tem and con­fined him to the teenage can­cer ward.

It was then that De­clan was awarded his school’s prize for English and its Tom Kennedy Award for out­stand­ing work.

He was too ill to at­tend prize­giv­ing so his par­ents Aman­da­jane and Gavin at­tended the spe­cial day on his be­half.

And his teach­ers de­liv­ered his English cer­tifi­cate per­son­ally to his can­cer ward.

“I felt re­ally happy be­cause I had been at school just three days of third year,” smiled De­clan.

Dot­ing dad Gavin, 40, said: “It was one of the proud­est mo­ments of my life.

“Not only had De­clan beaten a se­ri­ous can­cer but he had ex­celled

De­clan meets Still Game stars San­jeev Kohli, Ford Kier­nan and Greg Hem­phill; and with broth­ers Ewan, Kieran, Sandy and Lochlan. in his lessons. At the age of 14 he had had to en­dure what most peo­ple do not suf­fer in a life­time.

“Through­out it all he ploughed on with his school work.

“He has al­ways had a book in his hands since he was a tod­dler.”

Aman­da­jane, 34, said: “We have been through some tough times but De­clan has thrived. “He is our Iron Man.” The fam­ily had a dou­ble cel­e­bra­tion when Aman­da­jane gave birth to baby Sandy, now five months old.

De­clan’s brave jour­ney will now fea­ture in a com­pelling new documentary.

Grow­ing Up With Can­cer will be shown on BBC One to­mor­row at 7.30pm.

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