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The day my life changed - I found a lump on my knee in PE: it was leukaemia

But four years on, the condition is being managed with drugs and 'it's all looking good'

But four years on, the condition is being managed with drugs and 'it's all looking good'

We had Ofsted in and I was doing an A-level PE lesson outside when I started to feel like I had a dead leg. Underneath my tracksuit I could feel a golf-ball size swelling at the side of my knee, but I couldn't remember knocking my leg or doing anything that might have given me a bruise. I mentioned it to my colleagues and they advised me to see my doctor. I did that afternoon, had a blood test and was told I would get the result in a week.

The next day we had a rugby match after school. I came home late and there were several missed calls from my doctor with requests to call immediately. The surgery was shut by then so I waited until morning.

The next morning the doctor phoned and told me to go to the hospital's haematology department quickly.

I had been told to ask for a Dr White. When I arrived I was told she was in the Macmillan unit. The word Macmillan immediately translated as cancer and all sorts of things went through my head.

When I found Dr White she started by apologising that I had found out I had some sort of cancer before they had had a chance to speak to me. Then she told me I had chronic myeloid leukaemia.

I felt shell-shocked. I had heard of leukaemia, but I didn't know much about this type. The first time I started to feel any emotion was when I had to phone my mum to explain what was going on. I left the hospital and remembered that I had switched my phone off, so I turned it back on and there was a message from Mum saying: "The hospital phoned, what's happening?" I called her and broke down.

Dr White said time was of the essence. It was 10.30am on a Friday, St Patrick's Day, and they had to get everything done before the weekend. Later that day I had a blood transfusion and I was finally able to discuss my condition properly.

The treatment started immediately and I was off work for a month. I was one of the trialists for a new drug that reduced the need for chemotherapy. Before the pills came along the normal course of treatment was a bone marrow transplant. They tend to use that as a last resort now.

When I returned to work full time I continued as a PE teacher for about a year. But running around and refereeing football matches proved too much.

Eventually I went to see the head and asked if there was a position elsewhere in the school. My second subject is maths and I also love music, so they gave me a half-and-half timetable mix of maths and music. After a while the head of maths requested I teach maths full time.

A few days after I was diagnosed, our school basketball team was in the county basketball finals and the head of PE invited me to go along and watch even though I had just started my sick leave.

On the minibus driving to the finals, he mentioned the idea of fundraising. I knew fundraiser concerts were a good way of making money so I got to work planning one for that summer. It featured a lot of acts and my own band, Breathless, headlined. We have held the concert every July ever since. So far we have raised over #163;8,000 through the concerts, sponsored walks and my solo album. This month I joined Sir Ian Botham on his Forget-me-Not walk in Milton Keynes.

I'm 38 now and it is four years since my diagnosis. With the way I'm being treated remission is not an option; the condition is managed with medication. The doctors tell me that with my numbers - the blood count and the leukaemia count - on this course of treatment, no one has ever deteriorated. It's all looking good for me.

Ed Jones fundraises for Leukaemia Lymphoma Research. Visit He was talking to Shade Lapite.

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