It’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), and throughout September we’re running our Spot Leukaemia campaign to raise awareness of leukaemia and its symptoms.
It’s been a difficult year, and 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 this year’s challenges, Spot Leukaemia is back for the fourth year running.
A virtual campaign
This year’s campaign has gone virtual to reach as many people as possible, and so far we’ve reached 3 million people across our social media platforms, with more than 400 of you getting involved with the #SpotLeukaemia hashtag. That’s 3 million people that we hope will now have a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of leukaemia.
This year, patients have shared their stories in writing and through their own home-recorded videos. Our most popular video has had over 5,300 views, with more than 20,000 views on all our Spot Leukaemia videos featured so far.
With more stories still to come, we hope they’ll continue to inspire you, but also highlight the importance of getting symptoms checked. For many of the patients featured in this year’s campaign, they had no idea their symptoms could be leukaemia until it was almost too late.
Spot Leukaemia stories
Take Mattia Cocco. When Mattia began feeling faint, he knew something wasn’t right. When he then spotted unusual bruising, he remembered the Spot Leukaemia posts a friend had shared online just a few months before. To put his mind at rest, Mattia visited his GP, and 48 hours after spotting his symptoms he was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL).
You can read Mattia’s story here.
The friend who shared our Spot Leukaemia posts, spurring Mattia to get his symptoms checked, was Claire Shepherd. 28-year-old Claire began experiencing symptoms in February of 2019. However, her symptoms were constantly misdiagnosed, and it wasn’t until April that she received her diagnosis of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) following multiple trips to the GP and dentist, and calls to NHS 111.
Claire’s story is our most read story so far this BCAM, with over 400 people taking the time to read about her diagnosis and beyond. You can read her story here.
Then there’s Ella Dawson. Ella was 22 and looking forward to a trip to Colombia when she began to feel fatigued. A trip to the GP ruled out anything serious, so she went on her travels, but soon after Ella was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Ella shared her story with the press to help the general public spot leukaemia.
See her story here in the Metro.
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.
There’s still time to get involved in this year’s Spot Leukaemia campaign. Share the symptoms on your social media, tell your story, and spread the word. Find out more here.