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World Hepatitis Day – meet Ryan

28 July 2019

Ryan McMullan, 36, is a proud dad to 10-month-old Keiran. He has hopes for his future and a real determination to guide him along the right path. That’s because life for 12-year-old Ryan was very different. Brought up in Glasgow, he was among a generation of disaffected youth with ‘nothing else to do’, taking heroin before he’d become a teenager. By 19, he had hepatitis C.

Ryan


Ryan with his son Keiran

“I was shocked when I got diagnosed as I just didn’t think the needles would carry such diseases,” he said. “There was no treatment at the time and then when my brother had treatment for it, he got quite ill, which scared me off.”

Aged 16, Ryan’s mum moved him and his siblings away from Glasgow to Poole, a move he believes saved his life. “If we hadn’t moved, I would be dead or serving a life sentence by now.”

One year ago, life for Ryan started to change. His partner Jayde was pregnant with their son and he was heavily drinking. Tests showed he had cirrhosis of the liver, alongside his hepatitis C. But this time, having been referred to the Dorset wide hepatitis team, he got treatment.

“I had a 12 week course of treatment and I’m now clear, which feels amazing. Just to not have to worry about accidentally sharing a toothbrush or a razor. Or having to declare my hepatitis to doctors before a procedure.

“I was so impressed by all the NHS staff and I never felt judged. Life is so much different for me now I’m a dad. I’m off the drugs and the drink and I want to help other people through this.”

Ryan believes youngsters need to be ‘caught early’ and helped to channel their energy into something else so they don’t turn to drugs out of boredom. In time, he’d also like to say to his own son how bad life is on drugs.

But for now, Ryan is working with the Hepatitis C Trust to offer support to others and talk about his own experience.

“People have nothing to lose by getting treatment and everything to gain,” he said.

Charmaine McNulty, clinical nurse specialist at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, said: “It’s lovely to see how someone has turned their life around. Ryan has always been enthusiastic throughout his treatment and is looking forward positively to the future. It’s also great to see him offer support to others.

“We hope people come to us to seek support and treatment. We’re always here to help.”

Ryan


Ryan with Keiran and his stepdaughter Levi

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