Ben’s story


My name is Ben, and I was born in Australia, however I have been living in London, England for the past 17 years. I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in 2017 and underwent chemotherapy treatment in 2017/2018. I have been in remission since then.

I knew something was wrong even before the doctors gave me the news. I had noticed a lump in my neck and was subsequently referred to various departments at the hospital to undergo scans and further tests.

When I received the news that I had follicular lymphoma, I immediately thought to myself: ‘What do I need to do to overcome this?” Whilst it was disheartening to learn that FL is a chronic illness, it didn’t stop me from taking on board the medical team’s advice in those early weeks and months.

I lost my hair during chemotherapy which was an initial shock. I also lost weight and would often experience hot temperatures from the medication I took during treatment. I tried to maintain a regular routine with cycling to work, light exercise and seeing my friends and family. 


Whilst I felt that I successfully managed the ‘physical’ recovery from my FL treatment, I failed to recognise and address the ‘mental health’ implications a chronic illness such as FL can cause longer-term.

The mental health issues associated with anxiety, fear and depression were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. I tried to combat this with a number of bad habits that included: not openly talking about my concerns; poor nutrition; lack of sleep; limited exercise; and an alcohol dependency. It wasn’t until recently that I took the steps to seek help through specific therapeutic support for my anxiety and wider organisational group support for alcohol abuse.


I now have a much healthier lifestyle and positive outlook, living and working in London, and I acknowledge that mental health and wellbeing plays a very important role in living and managing this chronic health condition.

 I am participating in charity activities and sports events including riding from London to Paris for The Follicular Lymphoma Foundation this September.

In terms of my friends and family, they were very worried, but have become much more aware of my recovery and learnt how important my mental health is. I often share how I am feeling with my remission, and I find it helpful to share and talk openly about my health.

I have realised that understanding and looking after my mental health, along with good nutrition, exercise and sleep are all incredibly important with my overall recovery and have brought me greater quality in my life spent living with FL. Sharing my story and engaging with other patients has also greatly helped.