2020 in review

Here, we’re taking a look back at all that we’ve achieved in 2020, and how we haven’t let COVID-19 keep us from supporting blood cancer patients.

There’s no denying 2020 has been a strange and difficult year for us all, but as a result we’ve been working harder than ever to support blood cancer patients and their loved ones.

We’ve adapted our services so we can better support you, whether that be via our virtual support groups, or our webinars with the experts to keep you updated on the latest COVID-19 guidance.

In fact, we’ve hosted over 130 virtual support group meetings this year since the start of the pandemic, with over 1,000 of you attending.

Furthermore, 1445 people have called the helpline, and we now have over 50 trained buddies to support those with a blood cancer diagnosis.

We also welcomed our Welfare Officer to the team this year. From helping people apply for PIP, to getting patients furloughed so they can stay safe at home, we’ve so far supported 103 patients.

Spot Leukaemia from home

Whilst the world may have paused for COVID-19, leukaemia hasn’t. Now more than ever, it’s vital that both the public and healthcare professionals can spot leukaemia. That’s why, despite the year’s challenges, Spot Leukaemia returned for the fourth year running to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

This year, our campaign went virtual to reach as many people as possible, and this September we reached over 3 million people across our social media platforms. That’s 3 million people that we hope will now have a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of leukaemia.

More than 40 patients shared their stories in writing and through their own homerecorded videos, with one video alone reaching over 17,000 people.

World Leukemia Day

4th September marked the world’s first World Leukemia Day. We collaborated with groups including the Acute Leukemia Advocates Network (ALAN), CML Advocates Network and CLL Advocates Network (CLLAN) to bring you World Leukemia Day. These networks share the goal of providing leukaemia patients with better treatment, care and access to healthcare services.

The day was a great success, with thousands participating. Here’s how it went:

  • The hashtags #WorldLeukemiaDay and #WLD20 were used in over 3,500 tweets and reached over 20 million people on 4th September alone.
  • Nearly 3,000 website views as people searched for more information on leukaemia and its symptoms.
  • Professional wrestler Roman Reigns, who has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), even took part in the event, retweeting World Leukemia Day content to his 4 million followers.

Leukaemia is the 13th most common cancer in the world. Globally, over 437,000 people are diagnosed with leukaemia each year: that’s over 1,000 people every day. But by coming together for World Leukemia Day, we hope that more people will now be aware of leukaemia and how to spot it.

Thank you

All of this would not have been possible without your continued support this year. We’re grateful to all our fundraisers who have gone above and beyond this year to raise funds for people just like them.

Including our resident patient blogger, Vickie, who took on a skydive in aid of her fellow blood cancer patients, raising an amazing £600.

Or our wonderful Bridges of Britain walkers, who raised over £5,000 for all those affected by blood cancer, with more than 25 bridges crossed on the day, and our Virtual London Marathon runners who raised an amazing £8,000.

Or Crackley Bank Primary and teacher Sarah Paling who raised £200 at their Blood Cancer Awareness Month spotty day! The staff and pupils at Crackley Bank have been regular fundraisers for Leukaemia Care following Sarah’s acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) diagnosis in 2017. You can read Sarah’s story here: http://bit.ly/SarahPaling.

But skydives and walks aren’t the only ways you have shown your support this year. We raised over £2,000 via the sale of our face masks for blood cancer patients, helping to keep patients protected. Meanwhile, our lottery players donated a staggering £8,000 this year.

£24,500 was raised in the form of ‘in memory’ donations, for which we are truly grateful, and through grants and trusts we received £37,500, an invaluable amount when it comes to helping us to continue to be there for all those affected by blood cancer.

We’d also like to say a very special thank you to you, our readers, who donated nearly £3,000 after receiving the Autumn edition of the magazine. We were blown away by your generosity.

Without our fundraisers and regular givers, we would not have been able to continue to provide services like our Ann Ashley Leukaemia Counselling Fund, which has supported 18 people affected by blood cancer this year, or our Hospital Travel Fund, which has been awarded to nearly 200 patients and their families.

So thank you, from all of us here at Leukaemia Care, and from all of those affected by blood cancer this year who have received the support they need because of people like you.

Wellbeing

The physical and emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment can be very difficult to cope with. Some people find that using complementary therapies alongside conventional treatment can help them to manage their stress and anxiety before, during and after treatment.

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