Deryn Blackwell What a difference a year makes!

This is Deryn a year ago! He was 10 when he was diagnosed with ALL on July 30th 2010. It hit us like a ton of bricks because Deryn wasn’t even that ill, his only symptom was a loss of appetite!

When the Dr’s told us that we would be starting a 3 and a half year treatment plan, our hearts sank….that is forever!

Deryn has been very lucky in his journey, he’s a text book case and has very few problems which is amazing. However, he’s not been without his problems. He got appendicitis in October and had to have a very dangerous surgical procedure, made dangerous by the fact his white cells were flat, his platelets were extremely low and his red cells were needing a transplant. I had to sign a form to allow the operation after being told that there was a high chance he would not make it through the op.

He recovered within 8 days and 10 days after the op he was back at school!

In December he developed pancreatitis which really set him back, he lost over a stone and missed out on Christmas, we had our Christmas on the 4th of January but it was the most amazing celebration ever.

Deryn had to have a nose tube and had lost all his hair, this was probably the most difficult time as he looked ill and this was something he’d never wanted but it didn’t take him long to get the weight back on and the tube gone. He’s fought so bravely throughout this last year and has never let anything hold him back.

He wasn’t able to attend school for 85% of the year but he still went to take his SATS and passed each and every one of them with top marks, he only got one question wrong!

We are so immensely proud of our son and all he has overcome, he is an inspiration for us all.

This is a picture of Deryn that was taken a couple of weeks ago. He went for a four day sailing trip with Dame Ellen MacArther. The pictures on the trip were taken exactly a year after the picture of Deryn in hospital. If someone had told us what Deryn would be doing just a year later we would have never believed them.

Next weekend he is flying out to Ireland on his own to attend a weeks summer camp at Barrattstown. There are so many opportunities open to him that would never have emerged had he not become ill…’s not all doom and gloom 🙂

I hope that Deryn can be an inspiration to many more throughout his journey.

Yours sincerely

Caroline Blackwell


  1. Not sure if my last post posted!
    How wonderful to see your gorgeous Deryn looking so well! My son Ashton also has ALL & is currently 6 months into maintenance treatment, so has just under 2 years left. I can’t wait to be able to show photos as fabulous as yours, your lad truly looks fabulous & I am thrilled he has finished his treatment – it’s such a long haul for them, isn’t it?
    Wishing you all the very best, with lots of love & good health into the future. Our boys sure are an inspiration! Thanks for sharing Deryn’s inspirational journey XXX

  2. I was scrolling down my home page and was amazed to see Deryn’s smiling face. it was good to read his story and to see that his summer has been exciting since we saw you last. I’m sure your story will be an inspiration to lots of young people Deryn- my girls and I were honoured to meet you in June,

    Jenny and the girls

  3. Awesome article. My son Jayme also has ALL he was diagnosed 30th April 2010 at 18months old. He is now almost 4years old and we finish treatment 13th July 2013. He is also textbook ALL and his first year on Maintenance went really well this year on the other hand has not gone so well with 5 stints in hospital so far this year mostly respiratory infections and we blame it on living in Earthquake ravaged Christchurch we are on the eastside which got hammered by the earthquakes and the air is full on dust, silt and god knows what else. But at the moment he is doing well so we just take each day at a time and look forward to the time when things will be normal again with no drugs or hospital time. Great to see how far your little boy has come:-)

  4. Hi deryn! Thinking of you! X everyone At school is trying to do their best and buying your wrist bands! Marcus’ Mohawk ‘is going good! I’m going to do something to help sponsor you ie: bike ride etc. really hope you get better! YOU CAN BEAT CANCER! Keep strong my friend!x

    Lots of hugs and love
    From Erin Stasiorowski x

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