An international footballer has spoke of his shock after his ‘odd’ symptoms actually turned out to be leukaemia.
Courtney Wildin, 22, from Leicestershire, suffered fatigue and night sweats the day after playing a match.
The model also had a swollen neck and went for medical tests the next day. He was given the devastating news he had leukaemia just days later.
Mr Wildin, whose career started in Aston Villa’s academy, said: ‘In three days I went from playing football to being diagnosed with cancer – it was a massive shock.’
Fatigue is a common symptom of most types of cancer, including leukaemia. Swollen lymph nodes in the throat and night sweats can also occur.
The defender, who plays for Coalville and has been capped for Antigua and Barbuda, is now back in hospital after his first round of treatment failed to stop the disease.
He told Leicestershire Live: ‘They treated me with a lighter course of chemo which is usually all that’s required in cases like mine.
‘But on the 29th day of treatment they check the bone marrow and they’ve not seen a big enough decrease in the levels of leukaemia.’
Mr Wildin, who lives with his girlfriend Lauren Howkins in Ibstock, Leicestershire, is now undergoing a more intensive course of treatment.
It will include seven days of grueling chemotherapy, followed by a three-week spell in hospital to recover.
Mr Wildin, who has modelled for Nike, said: ‘It’s a harsher treatment but they’re 80 per cent sure that after this I’ll be cured and then back to playing football.
‘It’s just a case of getting over the mental cloud of being in hospital all that time, which is never nice.’
Mr Wildin described the symptoms of his cancer, which led to him being diagnosed on December 5, as ‘odd’. He played against Tamworth just days before.
He said: ‘On the Sunday I was celebrating my girlfriend’s and my brother’s birthdays and I’d been feeling a bit of fatigue and having night sweats.
‘On Monday I woke up with a swollen neck. It didn’t hurt but I was really odd so I had some tests done.’
Mr Wildin, who hopes to be back playing football soon, said the diagnosis had also been a shock for Lauren and his family.
He said: ‘It’s been difficult for my girlfriend. But she’s been great. The whole family has been amazing.
The defender, who joined Coalville last summer from Nantwich Town, is on Ward 27 – the ward for young people with cancer – at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
He said: ‘Last time I was in hospital it was on an adult ward where there were people with a wide range of problems and that was a struggle.
‘But this time I’ll be on the young people’s ward where friends and family can visit all the time and I’ll be with other people my own age who are going through the same thing.’
He said that while the cancer itself hadn’t caused any pain, he was expecting more of the treatment’s unusual side-effects.
Mr Wildin said: ‘The chemotherapy had a lot of weird side-effects that were strange – all sorts of things from sore teeth to constipation and trouble sleeping.
‘The doctors give you a whole list of things you might experience and it’s a crazy list.’
Mr Wildin revealed that when he announced he had been diagnosed with leukaemia there was an outpouring of support.
He has been posting regular updates about his treatment on his Instagram page.
Coalville Town chairman Glyn Rennocks said at the time of the diagnosis that the club will ‘support him as best we can’ and wished him a ‘speedy recovery’.
He added: ‘Courtney has been a fantastic player both on and off the field since he joined us and we are all deeply shocked at the news.’