Double delight for cancer patient Lee

Oxford Mail: Nurse Nicola Akers, Lee Jackson who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, and Lorna Bishop Nurse Nicola Akers, Lee Jackson who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, and Lorna Bishop

A CANCER survivor said Christmas came early when he gave cash to the ward that treated him – and was then told he is in remission.

Lee Jackson was just 20 when he was told he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which attacks the body’s immune system.

After chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he vowed to support the ward at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford that helped him.

He asked guests at his joint 21st birthday party to give cash instead of presents, raising £1,625.45 for the day treatment unit.

On Thursday he and cousin Lorna Bishop, who shared the party with him, handed the funds over.

The Iffley Road resident then got the results of a scan which revealed his cancer is in remission.

Mr Jackson, who attended East Oxford’s Larkrise Primary and Peers School, now Oxford Academy, said: “It was like Christmas came at once, for me to help others and for me to get the all-clear.”

The “amazing” staff inspired him to hold the November 2 party at Cowley Conservative Club, attended by about 500 people.

Mr Jackson, born on October 20, a day before his cousin, said: “We put a pound in the pot and took bets on how much would be in there.

“We all put three digits, no-one expected four digits. That is how surprised we were.”

He was diagnosed on March 4 after waking up one morning and finding himself unable to swallow.

Mr Jackson said: “I was concerned about losing my hair because they said I’d need chemotherapy.

“My first thought was I was going to be bald — I said ‘it is not going to beat me’.”

An operation to remove part of the tumour took place on March 14, and 16 weeks of chemotherapy were followed by radio-therapy every day for three weeks.

At the same time he and girlfriend of three years Melanie Cothier, 20, were expecting their first child, Alfie-Lee, born on July 17.

He said: “It was crazy. We found out about Alfie and we kind of didn’t know if it was an omen because with chemo you become infertile. He wasn’t planned.”

Mr Jackson said: “I was concerned that I wouldn’t see him grow up. It was scary.”

The hours spent being fed chemotherapy drugs gave Mr Jackson, who lives with mum Linda Jackson and older sister Dana and Kelly, ideas for the fundraising bash to improve facilities for patients.

He said: “You sit there all day in an armchair. They have a couple of DVD players but all the DVDs are free from the newspapers.”

Mr Jackson, whose dad Brian lost his battle with cancer of the voicebox aged 49 in 2008, this month returned to work part-time as a mobility technician at Chipping Norton’s Cotswold Mobility and will return full-time next month.

Miss Bishop, a deputy nursery manager from Radley, said: “We are all proud of him. He has done so well to overcome it all.”

Staff nurse Nicola Akers said: “All the staff here are really touched by what Lee and his family has done.

“It is such a thoughtful act from a young man who has had a huge amount to deal with this year. We are incredibly grateful.”

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