‘I finally feel normal’ says Barkingside cancer survivor

After a lifetime of problems caused by cancer he had as a child, brave Ben Moss can finally say the words he never thought he would: “I feel normal”.

The 21-year-old from Craven Gardens, Barkingside was diagnosed with leukaemia as a toddler and his health has been severely affected by the radiotherapy treatment administered to control the disease.

But he never gave up hope and has managed to overcome medical issues with his growth, bones and hormones to enjoy a four-year course at the University of Hertfordshire – where he has just gained a first class degree in information technology.

He told the Recorder his condition has improved significantly in the past year and he can now walk without feeling pain and go to the gym for the first time.

“I don’t have to think about when I’m going to hospital next or miss out on what my friends are doing any more which is a relief,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of problems with my legs but I’m feeling a lot better and can walk quite far now.

“Also, I can lift weights and ride a bike at the gym, which I had never been able to do before.

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“I can’t run or do much in the way of sport but with a few limitations I do what I want and feel normal.”

Ben had two years of treatment aged three, which was successful, but he relapsed at the age of six.

After more treatment he relapsed again aged 12 and this time he needed a bone marrow transplant.

An event to find a donor held at Clayhall Synagogue, in Woodford Bridge Road, Redbridge, proved unsuccessful and on the same day Ben was taken to King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, with septicaemia.

Mother Suzanne, 47, said: “He had multi-organ failure and we weren’t sure if he was going to survive.

“He also developed massive internal bleeding and had to have an operation to seal off a blood vessel.

“He managed to pull through but it was a slow process to get him back on his feet.”

He had a successful stem cell transplant from his father in 2001 as no suitable marrow donor was found.

Ms Moss added: “It’s nice for other parents who have children with leukaemia to know there can be a positive outcome. The disease does affect their lives but it needn’t shape them completely.”