I first realised something was wrong when I kept falling asleep at school. But when I was diagnosed, MDS was no more than a label to me, I did not feel sick.
After diagnosis, I attempted to carry on with life like any other 16 year old, determined that having MDS would not get me down but the illness began to take a turn for the worse.
I was due to go to Peru on an expedition and was devastated to learn that suddenly my delicate immune system would not let me go. But the unique empathy in the way that Professor Mufti, my doctor at Kings College Hospital in London, delivered this news gave me great comfort.
Three years passed and I felt like I was managing really well but during my gap year my life turned upside down again when suddenly my bone marrow stopped producing important blood cells, meaning I had to undergo intensive treatment immediately.
What broke me was learning that I would lose my hair as a result of the chemotherapy. Silly, I know, but to me this was a sign that I really was sick and could no longer hide it, not even from myself.
Fortunately doctors at Kings were able to offer me a stem cell transplant. I received stem cells from two cord blood donors and this treatment saved my life.
Even when I was at my worst, sweating profusely and in pain all over, the doctors and nurses at Kings College Hospital never failed to express compassion throughout their impeccable care. I feel proud and privileged to have received such great treatment and as a result consider that more and more patients like me will be seen as success stories.