At six years old, David Burke was diagnosed with testicular cancer, making him the youngest testicular cancer victim in the United Kingdom. He underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy for three years and miraculously, he survived.
For every good thing though, there is always a price. David’s doctor told his parents Shelagh and Michael that their son would not be able to have children of his own as the treatments had permanently destroyed his sperms.
When he turned nine, David went into remission as his tumor shrank. It took a year for his parents to muster the courage to tell their son that he would never become a father.
In his young age, he didn’t see the enormity of not having off-springs of his own. Even in his teens, he thought he was fine with it.
David’s mother, Shelagh, was devastated though. “At school, whenever teachers asked David what he wanted to be when he grew up, he always said ‘a daddy’,” she revealed.
The problems came rolling in when David was older. “At first I wouldn’t tell girls,” he shared. “When I did, I had a few bad experiences. One girl I was seeing at 19 suddenly dumped me and told everyone we worked with. It challenged my masculinity.”
He realized then that he would have to find someone who will take him as he is.
David met Rachel on a night out and the attraction between the two was instant. He told her about his infertility and Rachel understood. “She said that if they wanted to start a family, we could consider alternative options,” he recalled.
After they married in 1995, both accepted that they could never conceive naturally. But, their hopes where livened with the introduction of a new form of IVF.
The couple went to Care Fertility Clinic in Manchester and discovered they only had a 13 percent chance of having a baby. Tests showed that David’s spern count was just 0.3%. Anything under nine percent is considered infertile so not only was natural conception impossible, IVF wouldn’t be effective either.
But, they kept the fire of parenthood burning in their hearts and joined in the waiting list. Finally, at 39, Rachel started the only cycle of ICSI available for her. It was found out that there were only two good eggs that can be fertilized. However, the doctors warned that the chances of them implanting were almost close to impossible.
Despite the odds and Rachel got pregnant! The unexpected parents got so nervous, they spent £1,500 on private scans. Finally, on November 4, 2012, their son Thomas came out via C-section and weighed 6lbs 70z. Thomas’ birth is David’s second medical miracle.
David Burke could not keep his tears from falling as he stared into the eyes of his newborn son – the child he was told he could never have.
David said, “I’d always accepted that parenthood wouldn’t happen naturally for me, so hearing my baby cry for the first time felt amazing. It was like a weight that had been pression on my shoulders was lifted off. I was besotted.”
Now the family is complete. After 21 years of waiting and believing that their marriage would be childless, they now that they have their little Thomas with them. Every day they spend together is priceless.
For more heartwarming cancer survival stories, check this out: Photos to Make You Smile: People Who Kicked Cancer’s Butt!