2021: A year in review

We’re taking a look back at all that we’ve achieved in 2021, and how we haven’t let COVID-19 keep us from supporting blood cancer patients.

2021 has seen a rollercoaster of events and emotions; from more lockdowns to the lifting of restrictions, we’ve all had a strange and difficult year. Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on our lives, it hasn’t paused for leukaemia, which is why we’ve been working harder than ever to support blood cancer patients and their loved ones.

Since 2020, we have adapted our services where 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 160 virtual support groups since the start of this year, with over 1,650 of you attending. Furthermore, 350 people have called the helpline, and we now have over 80 trained buddies to support those with a blood cancer diagnosis. Through our welfare service, 200 patients have received financial hardship grants, 10 patients have received exceptional hardship grants, and 136 patients have been supported through benefit applications, employment issues, and applying for grant assistance.

Spot Leukaemia

Despite this year’s challenges, Spot Leukaemia returned for the fifth year running to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month. This year we were determined to reach an even bigger audience with the Spot Leukaemia message. In fact, we reached over 6 million people across all of our social media platforms. That’s 6 million people that we hope will now have a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of leukaemia. Leukaemia Care collaborated with a range of organisations to achieve this goal such as Leukaemia UK, Opaal (Older People’s Advocacy Alliance), the Eve Appeal, Bloody Good Period and Luke Roper 1977. Over thirty patients also shared their stories in writing and through their own home-recorded videos, with one video alone reaching over 10,000 people. We also achieved over 50 regional pieces of press and 14 national pieces of press including Stylist Magazine, the Sun, the Express, the Mirror, the Metro and Tyla! We were even on the radio, twice! We hope to have reached new people with the signs and symptoms of leukaemia, so they can #SpotLeukaemia sooner.

Our Spot Leukaemia timeline

1st September
Blood Cancer Awareness Month kicks off with a radio appearance from our Patient Advocacy Manager Charlotte who spoke about the signs and symptoms of leukaemia and the #SpotLeukaemia campaign on Cat Radio.

1st to 8th September
The 1st also saw the start of our week-long takeover on OPAAL’s Facebook page to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of leukaemia in the 65+ community! It also saw the creation of the ‘How to Spot Leukaemia in the 65+ community’ guide.

4th September
World Leukemia Day saw 28 buildings and landmarks in the UK light up red to mark the 28 people diagnosed with leukaemia in the UK every day. The day also saw 3 national news stories, 1,173 website views, and over eight million people were reached via the #WLD hashtag.

7th September
Bloody Honest releases the first video in a series on menstrual bleeding and blood cancer as part of our collaboration with The Eve Appeal and Bloody Good Period, reaching over 30,000 people.

8th September
Dr Amir Khan shares his #SpotLeukaemia video which reaches over 46,500 people and we also hit the £10,000 mark for the Step Out challenge!

9th September
We call upon the NHS and UK governments to work with us to raise awareness of the common symptoms of leukaemia. We also ask the public to send letters to their MPs with our Spot Leukaemia policy recommendations.

10th September
We take over Neville Southall’s Twitter account which reaches 1.4 million people!

11th September
Our birthday! We turned 52!

15th September
Our Spot Leukaemia policy event was chaired by MP Henry Smith. Our Campaigns Officer Emma was also on the radio talking about #SpotLeukaemia!

17th September
200 letters were sent with our #SpotLeukaemia policy recommendations to MPs across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

21st September
Our webinar with The Eve Appeal and Bloody Good Period goes live! ‘It’s Not Just A Bloody Period’ saw 160+ sign-ups.

22nd September
For World CML Day we have STV News Reporter Laura Boyd on our podcast, Leukaemia Chatters!

25th September
For World Pharmacists Day, we sit down to talk with 2018’s Pharmacist of the Year, Ade Williams, about the role community pharmacy plays in spotting leukaemia.

30th September
On the final day of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship sends us off with a #SpotLeukaemia tweet in memory of his ex-boss Geoff Hill, ITV News Editor.

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.

This Blood Cancer Awareness Month we launched our Step Out for Spot Leukaemia Challenge where our amazing fundraisers raised over £20,000 and collectively walked over 3,000 miles! We want to give a big shout out to our top fundraisers Tom Birch, Ross Happell, Lauren Shrimpton, Teresa McCarthy and Maria Ersmarker; and to Beryl Gausden, who also flew into the top five fundraisers after the challenge finished – your hard work, dedication and support means we are able to continue working to support those affected by a blood cancer diagnosis.

We had some really special supporters of Spot Leukaemia this year, like Sophie Wheldon who donated 10% of her profits from her crochet pumpkins to Leukaemia Care or Anthony Hyde who donated all profits from his memoir to Leukaemia Care during Blood Cancer Awareness Month. And Crackley Bank Primary School hosted another Spotty Day to raise vital awareness on the signs and symptoms of Leukaemia!

There have been some incredible fundraising events and challenges this year! Our amazing runners, who ran both the London Marathon (LM) and Virtual London Marathon (VLM), have raised an amazing £206,494 so far – a big shout out to our highest fundraiser for LM, Luke Roper who raised over £12k and Sarah Searle who completed over 300 laps in her back garden for the VLM after having to isolate! We had some fantastic fundraisers complete the Great North Run and raised over £6,000, as well as our Skydive challenges that collectively raised over £11k. Shout out to Chris Bristow and his daughter who did a skydive with Sam Slaney and together raised over £3k and Tina Hayhurst who swam 22 miles in a garden pool and raised £280.

Leukaemia Care’s trustee, Dharmesh Mehta and his team the ‘Blazing Saddles’ took on another cycling challenge from Newcastle to Edinburgh and raised an incredible £80,000 which will be split between nine charities, including Leukaemia Care.

We also have some fantastic supporters who are back out in the community raising awareness and fundraising through local supermarket collections – a big shout out to some of our fantastic community collectors John Bradley, Diane Murray, Tony Wright, Tracy Richardson and Nicole Whatley.

Thanks to supporters like you fundraising for Leukaemia Care, you are helping us to support people affected by blood cancer and allowing us to continue our work in ensuring that anyone affected by blood cancer receives the right information, advice and support.

If you fancy fundraising for Leukaemia Care, there are a wide range of ways to get involved! Get in touch with our Fundraising Team by emailing fundraising@ leukaemiacare.org.uk or by calling 01905 755 977. Alternatively, you can find out more here.

For Healthcare Professionals

Leukaemia Care works with a variety of different healthcare professionals, from consultant haematologists, GPs, Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and clinical psychologists.

Read More