I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) in 2008, aged 32, after visiting my GP with symptoms such as night sweats and pain in my hip. A blood test went on to reveal a leukaemia diagnosis which had me asking the question, “Am I going to die?”
When you’re told you have a leukaemia, or a blood cancer, or some other terrible disease, you never forget what being told feels like. There’s a ringing in the ears, everything just drains out of you. You just feel like you’ve been punched, really hard, but you feel no pain.
Now ten years on, I’m a marketing expert, blood cancer charity trustee and a passionate campaigner working with fellow leukaemia patients across the world seeking access to treatment. I’m also a seasoned public speaker, I recently spoke at a training day for 40 West Midlands GPs to help them understand what a blood cancer diagnosis feels like from a patient perspective.
The diagnosis made a huge difference to my life. Clearly, I could do without it, but it has made me a better person, I’ve no doubt about that. It’s made me recognise the important things in life.
To celebrate ten years since diagnosis, I’ve set myself a challenge to raise £10,000 for Leukaemia Care, the Worcestershire-based national charity that I’m a trustee of. I am also donating 10 days of my time to help support the charity, from marketing support to holding live webinars for anyone affected by a blood cancer diagnosis.
One of my key events in this year of fundraising will include a gig which is being held at the Cavern Club in Liverpool on 1st November 2018. As a huge Beatles fan, I was delighted when the Cavern Club gifted the space to hold the fundraising event.
Other fundraising ideas include a 10-mile walk and donating my birthday to the charity in lieu of presents.
Nicole Scully, fundraising manager for Leukaemia Care said, “Kris is a fantastic example of somebody who is living well with a blood cancer. Kris is using his own strength to support others who sadly may not be living as well as he is. His fundraising pledge is a huge boost to the charity and will enable us to train more GPs about the signs and symptoms of blood cancer, support haematology nurses and continue to fund our support services for patients. We’re really excited to see how Kris’ year pans out”.