Ffion Baker: Taking on the challenge of a lifetime

After her dad’s passing, Leukaemia Care became a charity close to Ffion’s heart. In a bid to raise awareness and vital funds for other lives affected by leukaemia, she decided to take on our London to Paris challenge, a fundraiser her father had once taken on himself.

A year ago, we lost Dad following a leukaemia diagnosis. This year I’ll be cycling in his memory on the anniversary of his death.

Dad was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in July 2022, and sadly passed away two weeks and one day after being diagnosed. 

He was referred to A&E by his GP on 20th July after having stomach pain for a week, which wouldn’t ease. After only a few hours in hospital, he was diagnosed with leukaemia and began chemotherapy.

His AML was aggressive and caused severe issues in his body’s ability to clot blood, and he had to have surgery to remove his enlarged spleen. Despite the surgery only having a 50% success rate, Dad made it through.

However, four days later, we were rushed into hospital as Dad had multi-organ failure. We lost him on the 4th August, 2022. 

During the time he was in hospital, we thought Dad would receive treatment and would be able to come home.

Following Dad’s passing, I wanted to raise vital funds and awareness for Leukaemia Care, a charity now very close to my heart. 

When dad was first diagnosed, we thought the AML would be life-changing and we would have the time to reach out for support from charities like Leukaemia Care. Sadly, we didn’t get this chance, but I want others to hear about the charity, and the amazing work they do to support patients and their families. 

In March, I was joined by 1,500 people on Facebook as we embarked on Leukaemia Care’s Team 10,000 challenge to complete 10,000 steps everyday in March. Now, I’ve decided to take it up a level and challenge myself with the London to Paris cycling challenge. 

My family has a history with the London to Paris cycle. My dad took on this challenge in memory of his dad in June 2012 for Stroke Association. So, when I saw that Leukaemia Care was offering the same opportunity, it was a no-brainer. 

I have ran in 10K’s and half marathons before, but Dad’s passion for cycling is what’s encouraging me through my training for the event.

I will start the journey in London, where we will cycle to Dover to get the ferry across to Calais. On day two, we will be cycling through the French countryside. Tiredness will begin to kick in on day three, but it will also be the first anniversary of losing Dad, so this is what will push me through. On the final day, we will finish by cycling around the Arc de Triomphe until we end our journey at the Eiffel Tower!

Do you know what the six most common signs and symptoms of leukaemia are? They are:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Bone/joint pain
  • Repeated infections

Are you currently experiencing any of these signs and symptoms? If so, contact your GP and ask for a blood test.

For more information on our Spot Leukaemia campaign, our goal and how to get involved, head over to our official Spot Leukaemia website at www.spotleukaemia.org.uk

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