Sometimes, a terminal medical diagnosis allows for a few extraordinary opportunities -- like meeting celebrities, driving in fast cars and planning for your ashes to be shot out of a cannon.
While Deryn Blackwell did check those first two items off his bucket list, the last one, thankfully, has not come to fruition. Instead, Deryn shocked the medical community by fighting back against the odds.
I'm still alive! pic.twitter.com/O3UJ1P8oug
— Deryn Blackwell (@DerynChemoKid) January 25, 2014
The 14-year-old from Watton, England, was diagnosed with both leukemia and Langerhans cell sarcoma, an extremely rare cancer, according to his website. In December, doctors told him that he had three days to live, and Deryn went to an end-of-life hospice, according to BBC News.
"We had accepted it. We'd all accepted it," Deryn’s mother, Callie Blackwell, told BBC of her son’s diagnosis.
Then, things took a dramatic turn.
In January, Deryn's infections began to heal and his body started producing its own red blood cells. He went from taking 35 different drugs a day to just one, as his prognosis went from bleak to hopeful, according to Norfolk Eastern Daily Press.
He left the hospice, and began training at a gym to regain his strength and taking classes at the hospital's school, Eastern Daily Press reported.
His parents are overjoyed, but remain cautious.
"It’s still up and down," Callie Blackwell told the outlet. "It’s on the up and I am so scared to get too excited in case it goes downhill. But he’s getting better and better each day."
The transformation has been an adjustment for Deryn, too. After planning his own funeral and making peace with his sickness, he can imagine his future. His family hopes to take him on a vacation soon.
The Blackwells began a charity, Do Everything, which was intended to exist in Deryn's honor. But now -- with his consistent improvement -- it may become his own project to run someday.