Why do I fundraise? I do it for both myself and my loved ones. Focusing on fundraising means I can turn my hand to help others who may be going through something similar to what I have experienced. By doing this, I can help raise awareness of leukaemia and the charities raising awareness and making a difference.
In June 2021, I began to feel unwell, but neither my doctor nor I recognised the symptoms for what they were. That was until my second visit months later.
I wasn’t planning on going for another appointment, but my wife insisted, so of course, I finally caved. I was experiencing tremendous night sweats and pain down my side. My appetite was next to none and I was losing weight, so deep down I was glad my wife nagged me.
A blood test found my blood count was concerning, but the next words that spilt out of the speakers from my phone came as a shock. “It is likely you have leukaemia,” my GP at the other end of the line said. Thoughts and questions started playing over and over in my mind. Am I going to die? What will my family do without me? Will I ever leave hospital? From that day, my life changed forever.
My CML diagnosis was confirmed, and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a hospital ward. Thankfully, the day of leaving the hospital did in fact come. I was discharged and started treatment, which went well for the first two months, almost bringing me to remission. We hit a few bumps in the road as my white blood count started to fall, resulting in me becoming neutropenic as well as suffering from two infections in early 2022.
I have tried three different tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), all of which were not compatible. My consultant and I are now looking into a stem cell transplant; a prospect that honestly terrifies me.
But that’s why I fundraise. To raise awareness of leukaemia, stem cell registers and charities like Leukaemia Care that can offer support. I recently raised £720 with a meal voucher raffle for a local steakhouse, Milehouse Bar and Grill, which they kindly donated. Now, alongside a charity football match I organised, I have raised over £9,200 for Leukaemia Care.
Leukaemia Care has given me a great platform to meet and speak with others just like me. I have made great friends such as Mark, who has acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). It can feel terribly lonely on this journey and I do have bouts of low mood and anxiety when thinking about my future. But, it is people like Mark who are a source of both inspiration and comfort.
Life really does change, but it’s about doing those things that you know will make a difference.
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