VIDEO: Cancer survivor, 24, donates symbolic bell to Northampton General Hospital for other survivors to ring when they beat disease

‘Just to be able to have something to say, 'I've done it, I've beaten it'. This is me showing the world I have done it.’

By Logan MacLeod
Monday, 13th June 2022, 4:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 9:12 am

A 24-year old cancer survivor has donated a bell to Northampton General Hospital for other survivors to ring when they have beaten the disease.

Ashley Malin, from Daventry, was diagnosed with Leukemia in March last year after complaining of recurring heavy nosebleeds.

The former Danetre School student fortunately caught his cancer early but knew how hard the next chapter of his life was going to be.

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Ashley rings the bell alongside his fiance Sian and the haemotology nurses at NGH

He said: "It took a moment to properly sink in. I started calling people up to tell them my diagnosis - it got very hard very quickly."

Ashley's fiance, Sian Ball, said: "It was great we found out what was going on but horrific because we knew what was coming next: all the hospital stays, losing his gorgeous hair, and the fact we were going to be apart because of lockdown."

Ashley underwent chemotherapy and started to lose his hair and began to feel sick among other common side effects of treatment.

After battling every day and keeping a positive mentality, Ashley was given the all clear in December.

The bell's Latin phrase translates to, 'never give up, never surrender'

He said: "I couldn't believe it. So many people hear the word cancer and think, 'oh my god, I'm going to die', and then to find out you're getting better, it was just like, 'I'm not going to meet death today'.

"The nurses have been wonderful. The whole lot of them. They became my family when my actual family couldn't be here."

Sian said: "He did incredibly well and I think him being so strong assured me that everything was going to be okay. It was a relief to know he was going to live. I couldn't imagine my life without him. We can get on with our lives and do everything we want to do now. It's just amazing."

When Ashley got the all clear he felt like there should be something to symbolise and celebrate his achievement, which is where the idea to donate a bell came from.

He said: "It's just such an iconic thing. You could be walking down the corridor and you hear the bell and you know what's happening, someone's beaten it, and that's just such a nice thing to have.

"Just to be able to have something to say, 'I've done it, I've beaten it'. This is me showing the world I have done it."

Sian said: "It symbolises, as well, that so many people are beating cancer now. It's not like how it used to be, people are beating it. Just to be able to ring that bell is quite symbolic, and they didn't have one here so I made it my mission to get one."

The bell was unveiled at NGH's haematology ward on Monday (June 13). On the bell there is a Latin phrase engraved into it, which Sian explained.

She said: "It translates to: 'never give up, never surrender', which is exactly what he did. We thought it was quite fitting."

Ashley concluded with some words of advice for anyone who has just received a cancer diagnosis.

He said: "You just can't let it bog you down. You've got to just keep on going in spite of everything. You need to be able to think as positively as you can, you need to say, 'I will beat this', 'this isn't going to be the end'."

A lot of people and a businesses have helped to provide and craft the bell including Scott Lloyd at Tompkins Joinery, Tony at Victoria Engineering, Glenn at Timsons, and Pete Davies, who all provided their services for free.