Former deputy prime minister of the UK Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez appeared on television today, in an interview discussing their son Antonio’s experience with cancer. 15-year-old Antonio was diagnosed in September last year, and has completed several rounds of chemotherapy.
The couple are raising awareness for the blood cancer charity Bloodwise, who are campaigning for more research into less toxic treatments for childhood and teenage cancer.
Blood cancer is the most common form of cancer in children and young adults, with more than 1,100 people aged 24 and under diagnosed in the UK every year.
After finding a small lump in his neck, Antonio was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer. He was treated by the NHS and has now been given the all clear. Mr Clegg and his wife described the way their son and his siblings dealt with the news as “very impressive”, and “just so, so practical.”
“The day that he was told, and I think that probably us telling him is one of the toughest things that we have ever done, the following day he went to school, he stood up and he told everybody ‘I have cancer’.
“That’s the way he dealt with it but other children and other families deal with it in a different way, you have to find your way.”
As part of his chemotherapy, Antonio suffered side effects including hair loss, vomiting and extreme tiredness. Mr Clegg also described how difficult he and Miriam found it to watch their child experiencing chemotherapy.
“You have this almost physical wish to try and take it off your kid and take it yourself.
“You very quickly move from the shock, to trying to support your child as they’re battling through this very heavy treatment.”
Antonio is now doing well, and has regular tests every three months to check on his progress.
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