Empty Chairs - Emmet Hardy's Story
Currently, thanks to advances in research and treatments, three out of every four people diagnosed with blood cancer in Northern Ireland survive. Emmet Hardy is one of those people.
Emmet was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma in March 2012, when he was just shy of his 21st birthday.
Emmet was like any other young man in Belfast. He enjoyed going out with his mates, spending time in the gym and loved to travel. As a personal trainer, he was in good shape and regularly practiced Brazilian Ju-Jitsu and kickboxing to keep him healthy. But all of that changed when he was diagnosed with blood cancer just before he turned 21, to the shock of both him and his family.
Treatment began immediately, turning Emmet’s active lifestyle on its head and forcing him to endure long hospital stays and painful courses of medication. For someone who once prided himself on his physical strength, it was shattering.
After months of intense treatment, Emmet received the all-clear in September 2012 and, elated, he immediately planned a celebratory trip to the United States with his friends. But the joy was short-lived, as two years to the date of his original diagnosis, Emmet was told he had Stage 2 Hodgins Lymphoma. The blood cancer was back.
Instantly, he began more treatment, including five days of 24-hour chemotherapy – forcing him into hospitals once again. Finally, Emmet got another all-clear in May 2014 and then embarked on a stem cell transplant just two months later.
Now, Emmet is cancer-free and back to his fighting fit self. After struggling to cope with the loss of his strength and active lifestyle while battling blood cancer, he is studying to become a qualified cancer rehab specialist and ensure that others get help in dealing with the lifestyle change cancer brings with it.
Remission is possible for people like Emmet thanks to research done by scientists, like those funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI right here in Belfast. They are working hard to develop new and more effective treatments, which mean that people like Emmet can battle back from cancer whether they are faced with it once, or even twice.
We’d love it if you shared Emmet’s story and spread the word. Together, we can help reduce the number of empty chairs created by blood cancer.