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Installation tours the UK to make blood cancer visible

Ten life-sized figures of people with blood cancer will tour four UK cities in support of a campaign to inform, educate and increase awareness during Blood Cancer Awareness Month

Then installation of transparent, motion-activated human figures launched in Westfield Stratford City, London on Tuesday 4 September. The installation creatively represents the ‘unseen’ or invisible nature of blood cancer. As people approach the figures, they hear real-life stories from people with blood cancer, in their own voices, encouraging passers-by listen to their experiences and to show their support for the campaign.

One of the figures represents Bloodwise ambassador Brett Grist. Brett (45) was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in May 2014. After three cycles of chemotherapy, Brett finished treatment in August 2014, but relapsed in July 2015. He received a stem cell transplant in October 2015 and has since made a good recovery, returning to work in 2017.

Bloodwise Ambassador Brett Grist represented at the Make Blood Cancer Visible installation.

The installation remains on display in London until Saturday and will then visit Cardiff, Manchester and Edinburgh for a week at each location. It’s held as part of the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign, which calls on UK governments to give blood cancer the priority and recognition it deserves, starting with clear long-term commitments in their next cancer plans. The official ambassador of the campaign is double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.

Dame Kelly Holmes said: “My mother, Pamela, died from myeloma – a type of blood cancer – in August last year. As it’s not well-known, my family and I knew very little about it, and my mother’s symptoms went undetected for years. It’s so important that more people know about the various blood cancers, and of their symptoms, so that those who are suffering can be diagnosed early, and receive the right treatment that could prolong or potentially save their lives.”

Gemma Peters, CEO at Bloodwise, said: “Blood cancers are collectively the third biggest cancer killer in the UK but we know that awareness of diseases like leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma and their symptoms is startlingly low. This important campaign is helping to shed a light on these cancers and the problems that patients face.”

Make Blood Cancer Visible is sponsored by pharmaceutical company Janssen and supported by charities Anthony Nolan, Bloodwise, CLL Support Association, CML Support, Leukaemia CARE, Lymphoma Action, MDS UK, Myeloma UK, and Waldenstrom (WM) UK.