Pete Huckle

"Now I’ve been to see the Lion King in London, I feel like the circle is complete, it’s the end of this chapter and I’m so grateful to LOROS for helping to make this happen."

Four-and-a-half years ago, I was watching the stage version of Lion King in London. I remember feeling extremely poorly; my neck was swollen, I was feeling lethargic and this ended up ruining the show for me. The next day, I text Vikki, my best friend who I had been to the show with, saying ‘I think I’m dying’ because I felt so dreadful. She replied telling me I wasn’t dying and I had man flu. By 4pm on the Monday, I had been diagnosed with Leukaemia and told I would’ve been dead in two weeks if I had not have gone to the doctor. I’ve never let Vikki live that message down.

I started chemotherapy straight away and not long after had a bone marrow transplant. Since then, nothing has been right, I think I’ve had a problem with almost every organ in my body. I was also told I could never have children, which absolutely crushed me.

At the end of 2017, I started having breathing issues. At first we couldn’t identify what they were but it turns out, my immune system is basically attacking my body. To cut a long story short, at the time of writing this, I have around 20 per cent of my lung capacity left, hence, why I permanently need extra oxygen.

I came into LOROS as an inpatient on Saturday 13th July, although I’ve been attending the Hospice’s Day Therapy for around a year now.

I was hoping to come in with a chest infection, perhaps something that could be reversed but it hasn’t panned out that way.

My lungs have recently taken a turn for the worse, which has forced me to withdraw my university application; I’ve always been a chef and was hoping to study a food-related course at a higher level. I had a vision of becoming a lecturer, even if I had to be in a wheelchair, teaching others and sharing my knowledge. Unfortunately, my health has taken that away from me too. That was heart-breaking, absolutely spirit crushing.

So I needed something to look forward to. My LOROS home visiting volunteer, Polly, who I have been seeing regularly for a while now had applied for a grant for me, through another charity, The Jonathon Hodge Foundation, which would enable me to tick something off my bucket list before I die. That something, was to be going to see the Lion King again; and this time, I planned on enjoying myself.

I mentioned the idea to the team at LOROS, in particular, the physiotherapist who has been supporting for me and she really wanted to help. Within a matter of days, the trip had been organised, a volunteer driver had agreed to take me down and I was to meet Vikki in London, so we could relive our ruined trip from four years ago.

The day will be one I will remember forever. Ironically, even though I was so much more poorly now than I was then, the day was so much better than the one I remember four years ago. Our seats were right in front of the stage, so we had a clear view of the perfect production. We enjoyed a glass of prosecco during the interval, Vikki bought me a t-shirt and I bought her a Simba cuddly toy – something I haven’t let go of since. It really was a very special day; emotional but very special.

I feel like going to the production was the closure I needed. LOROS helped make that happen and it’s just amazing. I’m overwhelmed it happened and how it happened. I’ve written cards to all of those involved, which is the least I can do.

I’ve also been having counselling, which has been invaluable. Seeing the counsellor has been very good, they’ve broken things down for me and given me a different perspective on life. I see a consultant here too and of course the enablement team.

I came into LOROS three weeks ago and I feel safe here. If things get better, then great but if they don’t, I know LOROS is the right place to be.